What is professional coaching?
The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”. Coaching put simply, is a conversation between two or more people, where the coach through creative questioning forwards the Client to maximize their potential and achieve the set goals.
Coaching starts from the premise that every client is whole and complete, and is the expert of his/her life. That the Client is creative, resourceful and wants to move forward. Starting from this premise, a coach can work with the client to:
- Understand and align The Client’s goals
- Support the Client to self-discovery
- Nuture and encourage the Client to think out of the box and look at things from a different perspective.
- Acknowledge and handle any barriers that may exist
- Encourage the Client to generate creative solutions and strategies
- Hold the client responsible and accountable
Through the coaching process, a Client can take ownership of their life and maximize their potential. Both personally and professionally.
How is coaching distinct from other service professions?
Professional Coaching starts from the premise that each Client is unique, special and the Expert of his or her own life. That the Client wants to move forward towards a better solution. Coaching is geared to setting goals, creating results and managing personal change. It is a unique tool aimed at helping people and organisations to maximize their potential.
Another way of understanding Coaching is to distinguish it from other support professions.
- Therapy: Therapy focuses on healing pain and conflict in a person. It aims to resolve past issues that affect a person’s present psychological and emotional functioning. Through therapy, an individual can handle their present life in a better healthier manner.
Coaching looks at the future. It promotes and encourages personal and professional growth based on the premise that the Client wants to move forward in their life to achieve their set goals. A Coaching relationship encourages the client to make positive change through creating strategies to accomplish their goals and objectives and be accountable for their actions.
- Consulting: This is a very wide field with many approaches. However, the basic premise is that the consultant’s role is to diagnose problems and come up with a solution. At times, the scope extends to implementing solutions. Coaching differs as it assumes that Clients are experts of their own lives and are capable of generating their own solutions. The coach’s role is to support the Client to create break-through through open discovery based approaches.
- Mentoring: Is essentially guiding an individual or business towards a solution based on the Mentor’s expertise and experience. The Mentoring process can include advising, counselling or coaching, whereas the Coaching process is based on Clients setting and achieving their own objectives. The benefit of this approach being, that it forces an individual to take ownership of his/her choices.
What are some typical reasons someone might work with a coach?
An individual or team might choose to work with a coach for many reasons, including but not limited to the following:
- To bridge a gap in skill, confidence, attitude or performance.
- To gain clarity to make better decisions
- Manage work and life balances, relationships,
- Self awareness and understanding, finding a direction in life
- Identifying core values, strengths and how to leverage them to maximize potential
- Accelerate results, Achieve a challenge or Opportunity
How does the coaching process work?
A typical Coaching relationship can span from three months to six months, depending on each client’s needs. In the first session, the Coach and Client meet up to assess the individual or businesses current situation, define the extent of the relationship, identify priorities to work on and set specific goals.
The following coaching sessions may be conducted in person or over the telephone or Skype. Each session is typically an hour long or as agreed upon between the Coach and Client.
The Coach may ask the Client to complete milestones or actions that are necessary to achieve specific goals.
During every session, the Coach would through powerful questioning, encourage and support the Client to become more self-aware, and gain deeper insights. Throughout the coaching relationship, the Coach would consciously be supporting the Client towards achieving their set goals.
Is coaching done face to face?
You don’t necessarily have to be in the same geographic location. Coaching is successfully achieved by phone and the Internet. Though we recommend that the first session to be face to face so that the Coach and Client can build a strong interpersonal foundation.
How can I get the most out of Coaching?
- Keep your appointments, and protect your coaching time from disturbances.
- Be open and willing to think from different perspectives.
- Do your assignment, which requires work throughout the process.
- Let your coach how he or she can best support you. Look at the coaching relationship as partnership.
- Be willing to stretch your thinking and attitudes during your coaching sessions. Remember, this is a safe place to process the experience and learn from it.
How long does a coach work with an individual?
Every coaching relationship varies in its duration, depending on the individual’s requirements and needs, the set goals and the financial commitment available for coaching. Typically it would take three to six months of partnership to make a significant impact.
How can the success of the coaching process be measured?
Measurement may be thought of in two distinct ways: external indicators of performance and internal indicators of success. Ideally, both are incorporated.
The external measures selected should be things the individual is already measuring and has some ability to directly influence and include some of the following:
- Achievement of coaching goals established at the beginning of the coaching relationship.
- Increased income
- A promotion,
- Performance feedback that is obtained from direct reports, colleagues, customers or the boss,
- Business performance data (e.g., productivity, efficiency measures). The external measures selected should be things the individual is already measuring and has some ability to directly influence.
Examples of internal measures include:
- Self-scoring/self-validating assessments that can be administered initially and at regular intervals in the coaching process
- Changes in the individual’s self-awareness and awareness of others
- Shifts in thinking that create more effective actions, and shifts in one’s emotional state that inspire confidence.