Coaching is a specific conversational process that is fundamentally about facilitating change from the current state to a more desired state.
Typically, coaching focuses on performance, learning and/or fulfillment with clients. Its focus is assisting people to contribute more of their unique self to the world and thus create a greater sense of meaning in their lives.
The coaching process is highly client-centered, fosters self-directed learning and is grounded in self-assessment and personal values recognition. Professional coaching is a powerful process for people who want to make changes to get more out of their personal or professional lives, and enhance their health and well-being. It is a conversation-based partnership that helps you discover and prioritize what’s important to you, encourages you to access your inherent strengths and creativity, choose goals and design and follow a plan of action to get what you want. As a skilled and unbiased professional, the coach will hold you to your commitments to yourself and keep you on track to reach your goals.
Through the process of coaching, you will:
- gain clarity on your strengths and what is important to you
- improve your performance
- enhance your quality of life
Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has. (International Coach Federation, 2004) Coaching is about you making changes in your life and achieving the results you want. Coaching helps you to clarify what it is you really want, identify your choices and make changes to move you forward to your goals. Coaching concentrates on where you are today, where you want to be tomorrow and what you need to do to get there.
What are the benefits of coaching?
Clients find that one of the immediate benefits is that once you commit to the coaching process, you will feel very serious about getting into action to reach your desired goals. Clients report the value of being held accountable for creating the kind of life you say you want. Clients who engage in coaching report feeling clear, in control, supported, motivated, productive, grounded, optimistic, relaxed, balanced and more positive. How you benefit will depend largely on what you choose to work on and how far you are willing to stretch yourself.
Isn’t coaching just another form of therapy?
No. Coaching is distinct from mentoring, consulting, managing, training and therapy, even though there are growing numbers of consultants and therapists who incorporate coaching skills into their practice. Coaching differs from therapy in that it concentrates on the present and future, does not focus on the past’s impact on the present, and does not depend on resolution of the past to move the client forward. Coaches and clients are partners; the coach is not an expert, authority or healer. The coaching relationship should not be one in which the client becomes dependent on the coach.
Coaching differs from consulting and mentoring in that that the coach is an expert on coaching but does not need to have specialized knowledge of the area or industry. In fact often it is that very objectivity that enables the coach to help you hold the “big picture”, think outside the box and not stay mired in limiting beliefs and assumptions.
In coaching, the foundation is the coach-client relationship. Through this relationship the client gains a greater capacity to produce results and a greater confidence in their ability to do so. Unlike in consulting, the client does not leave coaching with the perception that they need to rely on a coach to produce similar results in the future. The difference between managing or training and coaching is that the coaching relationship is a designed alliance where the client is in full control of the agenda and there is no power differential between the client and coach (Adler School of Professional Coaching, 2003).