What is Coaching?


"A whopping 98.5% of coaching clients said their investment in a coach was well worth the money, according to an International Coaching Federation survey. Coaching is the most potent tool for inducing positive personal change, ensuring better-than-average odds for success and making the change stick for the longer term."

BC Business Magazine
Coaching explained

Professional Coaching is an ongoing partnership that helps clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.

In each meeting, the client chooses the focus of conversation, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. This interaction creates clarity and moves the client into action. Coaching accelerates the client's progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice. Coaching concentrates on where clients are today and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be tomorrow.

Coaching is a powerful relationship designed to help a person who wants more out of any aspect of life:

  1. Clearly define his or her goals and dreams
  2. Uncover the obstacles and self-imposed limitations that stand in the way of success
  3. Generate actions to start to create the results he or she is seeking

It may be argued that the number one barrier to us achieving success in any endeavour will be ourselves, that the number one predictor of success is being clear on what we really want and why, and that being relentless in the pursuit of turning our goals and dreams into a reality will be the number one cause of achievements manifesting in our lives.

Coaching is about making life easier. It works by helping people get out of their own way to get what they most want: achievement, fulfillment, and a sense of being comfortable in their own skin.

In a typical coaching session a coach will:

  1. Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  2. Encourage client self-discovery
  3. Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  4. Hold the client as responsible and accountable

What should you look for in a Great Coach?

Having a coach is the first time for many people that the person working with them has NO OTHER AGENDA but to support their client in achieving their goals. For the time that the coach is in front of the client there is no other focus than the achievement of those goals. This is a unique and very special relationship.

A coach is an ‘enabler’. He or she facilitates a person or team moving from where they are now to where they need to be. By empowering and reflecting clients take new decisions and actions.

Great coaches always ask rather than advise; they stimulate, challenge and push-back on the client when necessary. A really good coach takes a ‘Jerry McGuire’ approach, as in ‘show-me-the-money with respect to action rather than words; good intentions don’t change anything. It’s action that creates results hence a powerful coach will facilitate the generation of powerful actions.

Great coaches are far more than great listeners; they listen and interpret with such intensity that meanings are drawn from things that would be otherwise overlooked. A great coach helps their client grow as a professional and as a human being. The ask searching questions that force the client to think more deeply about their issues, and are relentless in their search for effective client driven solutions that help move closer toward the achievement of the goals.

A great coach never judges or condemns but neither will they accept anything less than the best from their client. A great coach makes sure that the goals a client commits to are honest, real and personally crucial; they will help measure what might first appear un-measurable and (with the clients permission) do whatever is necessary to help their client achieve them.

A great coach is a critical friend; not an employee, consultant, servant or teacher; they may at times provide guidance and add to skills but are on an equal and level playing field with the client; neither is more powerful in the relationship than the other.


Behavioural Change Coaching explained

While coaching can focus on any aspect of a person's life in assisting personal growth and a number of different approaches to coaching exist, behavioural change coaching or cognitive behavioural approaches emphasize that how we react to events is largely determined by our views of them, not by the events themselves.

Through examining and re- evaluating some of our less helpful views we can develop and try out alternative viewpoints and behaviours that may be more effective in aiding problem-solving. Behavioural change coaching doesn’t provide quick fixes to achieve personal change or ''magic away'' personal difficulties. Instead it emphasizes that sustained effort and commitment are required for a successful outcome to life challenges. Consistency is the real deliverer of sustained change.

The approach does not seek to give people the answers to their problems or difficulties, but through a collaborative process called ‘guided discovery’ (often using guided visualization techniques as well as insightful questioning) it helps them to reach their own conclusions and solutions. Previously, what may have been a ‘mental block’ in relation to tackling a particular difficulty is now transformed into an open or flexible system of identifying a number of problem-solving strategies.

The real aim of the intervention is for the client to become their own behavioural change coach – using and utilizing the processes and techniques that have been used with them during the coaching sessions. The number and length of sessions depends on the person's requirements: for example, ninety-minute fortnightly sessions to tackle an ongoing problem or an intensive three hour session to deal with performance anxiety regarding an imminent public speaking engagement.

Simply put it’s a process based on a collaborative relationship that helps individuals to focus on problem-solving in a structured and systematic way, encouraging individuals to draw from within themselves problem-solving strategies rather than have them handed over by the coach and being guided with techniques and tools to make the best of their natural resources.


What's new in coaching?

For the very latest in coaching research and information visit the iABCt at www.iabct.org

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