What is coaching?
Coaching is all about personal development. Coaching is about living with a mindset that is built around positivity and possibility. It is about helping you learn rather than teaching you. It is asking, not telling. Coaching takes the position that the individual must assume personal responsibility for his or her life, and that people have all the resources to solve their own problems. It consciously considers individuals and their unique talents and abilities.
Coaching is about having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to manage your communication, emotions and behaviour on the way to getting there, which is what I define as self-leadership.
Twenty years ago, no one had heard of Life, Executive or Expatriate coaching. Today, coaching is one of the fastest growing industries, especially in Europe, Australia and the US. As a new profession, coaching blends the best concepts from business, psychology, philosophy, sports and spirituality. However, coaching is a distinct process of supporting others to create an ideal life.
The International Coach Federation defines coaching in the following way:
“Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.”
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.
This is achieved by helping the client establish what is important to them and by clarifying their values. With the client’s input the coach co-creates value based goals and a plan to achieve them. Through collaboration, the coach supports the client to achieve these goals.
What Coaching is Not
Despite the blend of disciplines within coaching, the coaching industry is a unique field and there are significant differences between coaching and these fields.
Coaching and Therapy
Coaching is not therapy, counselling or psychology. One of the most obvious differences between the two approaches is that therapy tends to focus on feelings and experiences related to past events, whereas coaching is oriented towards goal setting and encourages the client to move forward. A therapist typically works with a dysfunctional person to get them to become functional. A coach works with a functional person to get them to become exceptional.
Coaching does not rely on past issues for achieving growth, but rather focuses on goals towards the future. Coaching is action oriented. The focus is on where the client is right now, where they want to be next, and how to get them there.
Coaching and Consulting
Coaching is often likened to consulting. However, there are distinct differences between these disciplines. A consultant is usually a specialist in a given area. They are hired to give recommendations and provide solutions. A consultant works with a client to solve a particular problem or to address a specific issue. Once the problem is solved or the issue addressed, the consultant leaves. Coaching uses a more holistic approach. With the client, the coach examines the situation, creates a plan of action, and works side by side to resolve the issue. The coach does not have to be an expert in the client’s business. The client is the expert. The coach collaborates with the client to create a solution using the client’s knowledge and answers.
Coaching and Mentoring
The mentor is usually more experienced than the person being mentored. The mentor bestows their knowledge and wisdom onto the student.
In a business setting, mentoring is a formal relationship that is established with someone who is an expert in his or her field. Like consulting, mentoring involves passing on the benefit of a set of specific experiences. A coaching relationship, on the other hand, is a partnership whereby the coach walks side by side with the client. The coach supports the client in drawing on their own wisdom and following their inner guidance.
How Coaching Works
Every individual’s situation is unique, thus there is no course or prescribed process which is universally applicable. Many traditional development experiences given to leaders have failed to address this problem, and so are increasingly seen as needing to be augmented by a more personalised, development process. Leadership Coaching meets that need.
Prior to committing to a coaching relationship, the coach and potential client will meet to discuss the client’s goals and results desired, the process involved, and the coach / client suitability to build a strong rapport. Then a “sample coaching session” is performed to give the client the opportunity to experience coaching first hand, prior to committing to it.
I hope the above gives you a clearer idea of coaching, and how it can help you bring your personal and / or professional life to a whole new level.
Please contact me if you have any other questions of if you would like to book a free discovery session, to see if coaching could be for you.
With much appreciation,
Isabel Valle CPC ACTP
Coaching for Leadership, for Growth, for Success