What is coaching?
The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as “… partnering with clients in a thought-provoking creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
Professional coaches provide an on-going partnership to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional careers. The coaching process is about discovery, awareness, and choice. It is a way to effectively empower people to find their own answers, encouraging them and supporting them on the path as they make important life choices.
Coaching is not psychotherapy or counseling. It is also not consulting, as the role of the coach is not to give advice
Why pursue coaching?
Often we cannot see ourselves as others see us, no matter how hard we try or how self-aware we think we are. Working with a coach provides a fresh perspective that enlightens and educates us. This perspective is then combined with stretching ourselves and venturing “outside of our comfort zone”, one of our biggest challenges as humans.
How does coaching work?
Coaching is conducted through one-on-one interactions, driven by data from multiple perspectives, and based on mutual trust. The coach and the client meet on a regular basis over the course of a prescribed period. The coach enables the client to try new behaviors in a comfortable and safe environment. With the objective of addressing issues that stops the client from using his/her full potential, the coach holds the client accountable and keeps him/her moving forward toward his/her dreams and goals.
Each coaching process is tailored to the client, and is based on the client’s agenda. The phases of coaching are typically as follows:
1. Develop a formal commitment by clarifying expectations, and determining the parameters
around the coaching relationship.
2. Gather information and feedback about the client, and create a professional development plan.
3. Participate in coaching sessions where action plans are developed, skills are tested, and discussions take place on the client’s learning experience.
4. Progress is evaluated, and support structures are built to help the client maintain new behaviors.
A skilled coach uses a combination of observation, questioning, listening and feedback to create a conversation that is rich in insight and learning. From the client’s perspective, their time with the coach is focused totally on them, their goals and their reflections.
Who is a good candidate for coaching?
Anyone can benefit from coaching. To be successful, there must be a willingness to engage in self-observation, a sincere desire for personal growth and change, and a commitment to the coaching process.
What should the client expect from the coach?
- Commitment to an open, honest, and collaborative relationship
- Respect for confidentiality
- Objective, positive and non-judgmental support
- Assistance in gaining clarity around values, purpose, or vision
- Support in identifying goals and strategies to reach the client’s aspirations
- Encouragement to take action in key areas
- Guidance in resolving barriers or challenges to moving forward
- Listening carefully to what the client says, asking powerful questions, and providing candid feedback
What should the coach expect from the client?
- Firm commitment to his/her goals and vision
- An open mind
- Willingness to experiment with new approaches, and try new behavior and perspectives
- Ownership for progress and success
- Keeping focused on what is important
- Providing the coach with feedback on whether the coaching is valuable and focused on the client’s need
What are typical areas of development?
- Increased productivity and effectiveness
- Increased motivation and drive
- Focus on personal goal attainment
- Clarity on career path choice
- Development of interpersonal skills
- Personal management
- Management of working relationships
- Transition into a new company or a new role
- Development of conflict resolution skills
- Greater clarity around purpose & mission
- Support for organizational change efforts
- Development of authentic leadership style