I sprained my knee about a month ago. As far as I can recall, this is the first major injury I’ve sustained in my life (luckily!). It’s been a real learning experience figuring out how to ask for – and accept – help. Watch the video below or read the blog post that follows to learn how seeing a physical therapist reminded me of the value of working with a professional.

A qualified professional will know which strategies are likely to be effective in your situation – and which won’t.

Before my appointment with PT, I had Googled exercises and stretches I might do, and as you can imagine, there are a zillion of them. It was overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start. And more importantly, I didn’t know which ones would really help in my situation – and which ones might actually do more harm than good. The PT did a thorough exam of my knee and understood the problem. Based on my specific situation, she tailored a workout that would be the right fit for my circumstances. That’s a great reason to work with a professional in any setting -whether it’s PT or a coach or something else.

This is something I do as a career and leadership coach for my own clients – whether they’re leading a challenging employee, or working with a difficult colleague, or dealing with an unsupportive boss. There are as many strategies as there are books on how to handle these situations. Sometimes the advice is even completely contradictory from one resource to another. That’s because a lot depends on the specifics. Having someone who can provide a complete and accurate diagnosis of your situation is invaluable. They can help you identify and apply the strategies that are likely to be most effective for your particular challenge.

A qualified professional can provide a sequence of steps, so you aren’t overwhelmed trying to do everything all at once.
In my second PT session, my therapist added a few more stretches and exercises. She had a good sense of timing – where I should start, and how my routine should shift over time. It was really helpful for me to have that sense of timing – that I didn’t have to do everything all at once. She has a mental map of the road to my recovery, and she knows what’s important for me to do now, and what will need to wait until later as my knee is getting stronger.
Similarly, an experienced coach will be able to help you map out a plan to reach your career goals. They’ll know how to sequence the steps you need to take so that you know what to focus on now, and what can happen later.

Often, clients will come to me in difficult situations. There are things they like about their current company and role, but it’s not going well. They’re usually caught in a mental ping-pong match called, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” We map out a series of strategies that will help them gain clarity on that decision and set themselves up for whatever they decide to do. Sometimes these might be steps they can take to influence their current situation. Sometimes it’s taking steps to see what else is out there. Sometimes it’s a bit of both. We tailor the mix of these activities to the specific person and their circumstances.

The timing and sequencing aspect also comes up when I work with clients as they’re taking on a new role – whether they’ve gotten a promotion in their current company, or they’ve moved up by going somewhere else. Any time you step into a new role, it can feel like there are a thousand things to learn and do. We map out a solid plan that will help them focus their efforts. That way, they get off on the right foot, building relationships and making a meaningful contribution that sets them up for success.

A qualified professional will provide you with the tools you need.
In my second PT session, my therapist used a metal bar to help work out the tension above my knee. Years ago, my son did PT and the therapist provided a set of stretchy bands to use. In both cases, the PT knew what tools to use. They knew exactly how to use them for our situations. They could teach us what to do with them so that we could use them effectively.

That’s another thing I provide to my clients – not just coaching, but also tools and frameworks that I have found useful in my 20+ years of working with teams and their leaders. I teach my clients how to use them and support them as they apply them to their own work. Our tools help clients clarify roles and expectations on their team. They help clients communicate more effectively with the different types of people in their workplace. They help clients navigate the political landscapes in their organizations, so they can move their initiatives forward and get results.

Working with a professional creates accountability.
My PT gave me a list of exercises this week. I know that when I see her next time, she’s going to ask if I’ve done them. While you’d think that healing would be enough of an incentive, for me, honestly it might not be. I might make excuses about being busy with client work. Or being there for my mom. Or my cats. But being a good student, doing the assignment, meeting someone else’s expectation – that works. Knowing that I have someone to report to means I’ve been consistent all week, morning and night.

The same thing can be helpful for anyone who’s trying to move up in their career. Often the things that are needed most are what people procrastinate: building relationships, creating your long-term strategy, researching your next move, etc. Other tasks come up that seem more urgent, and before you know it, time has gone by and you’re still not where we want to be.

A coach can help you prioritize so that the urgent activities don’t crowd out the important ones. A coach can help you not only identify your goals but also set and meet milestones that will get you there.

Accountability to a coach isn’t simply “did you do it, or not.” There’s also time for reflection, so you learn what works for you. What keeps you in motion. What holds you back. When you slip, your coach can help you see and deal with whatever might be getting in the way. A coach can also help you learn what works for you as you implement your plans so that reaching your goals becomes a repeatable pattern in your career and in your life.

If you’re interested in having professional support to get where you want to go in your career, we’d love to help. Make an appointment to talk with someone on my team. We’ll talk with you about where you are now in your career, and where you want to go. If we believe we can help you meet your goals, we’ll share what it would look like to work with us. If not, we’ll point you to someone else. Either way, our goal is for you to get clarity about your next steps for building a strong and healthy career.

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