Coaching and the new cliche of innovation

It seems that one coaching (and consulting) niche is helping companies be more innovative.

If this is your niche, be sure to read the Wall Street Journal article from May 23 about innovation. In it, the authors argue that innovation is becoming an overused cliche, not unlike "synergize" and "re-engineering" from years past. They cite the number of book titles with the word innovation or innovate in it (over 33,000 times in annual reports alone), the trendy new titles like Chief Innovation Officer, and the dilution of the term's meaning from society-changing innovations (e.g., electricity, mobile technologies, supersonic flight) to more mundane issues like incremental product improvements (e.g., green ketchup).

There are two implications for coaches:

First, if you are in this niche, think about ways that you can be more innovative, and not another me-too innovation coach/consultant. Ironic, isn't it? The same people preaching for more innovation aren't showing innovation in their own practices.

Second, as coaches in general, we need to think about where we fall on the innovation curve. Are you a true thought leader who comes up with important new ways for leaders to think about issues (new wine)? Are you a "fast follower" who quickly adapts current best practices and presents them in your own way (old wine, new bottle)? Or are you a laggard who is way behind the curve, with out-of-date frameworks and tools (old wine, old bottle)?

The most successful coaches will not be those who rehash old themes, but rather those who are creative and innovative enough to come up with their own methodologies and approaches.

At the Center for Executive Coaching, we help. We do this with our own framework that takes you from using existing tools and frameworks, to feeling confident and comfortable in creating your own. Once you can do this, you set yourself apart as a true thought leader, and can become a go-to professional in your market. Even better, you can turn your intellectual property into books, seminars, licensing properties, information products, and more.

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