WHAT IS COACHING? And what it is
Coaching is a modern and rapidly growing method
for helping people to improve the quality of their lives. It
is a means of bridging the gap between where you are now and where you
want to be. Find the Coach that is right for you and the process can
become an on-going relationship, that is non-judgemental and without
criticism. A partnership that can help you produce fulfilling results
in your personal and professional life.
Life coaching, sometimes referred to as personal
coaching to distinguish it from what is called corporate or executive
coaching, can happen at many levels. The issue may be relatively straightforward,
such as how to deal with what is essentially a practical problem, or
have a short term focus, as in how to cope with a period of transition.
Equally, it may encompass major areas of life: improvement of relationships
with family and partners; developing better parenting skills that benefit
both the child and parent; personal development in what may be seen
as the more practical areas of life or the exploration and development
of the inner or spiritual life. Whatever the issue, as well as achieving
a successful outcome, the skills learnt will be of permanent benefit.
As coaching helps people to develop and grow
in such a wide variety of areas, and its use is becoming more
widespread, so some coaches are tending to specialise in specific areas:
Personal and Corporate being the two main divisions. But even within
those areas specialisms are developing such as parenting, bereavement,
leadership and management, executive coaching for corporate performance
and director development, personal development, spiritual path finding.
All coaches have something in common -
we want to get the very best out of people and enable them to make decisions
that will improve their lives. That is not (I want to emphasis the word
‘not’ – 1. How does that strike you? 2 If you agree,
what is the best way?) done by telling, directing or instructing, quite
the opposite, the process effectively amounts to coaxing the answers
out of the client. The assumption is that deep down inside, each one
of us knows what we want and, yes, how to achieve it, but the ‘clutter’
of living that surrounds us and the pressures to make our ways through
life as it is, prevent us from being clear about both the detail of
our goals and, more importantly, the paths to those goals.
My experience repeatedly shows that this is true.
One of the most exiting times for a coach is sharing the client’s
“Ah Ha!” moment. Quite often that appears as a simple
recognition of the dynamics of a situation or that a change in attitude
is required: ‘simple’ because it was there all the time
- but locked away deeply inside the client, has moved into the background
through several sessions, and at last has been allowed to surface into
consciousness as the ‘clutter’ is cleared away: only because
you – the client - have made the commitment and have chosen to
give time to and put energy into working with your coach.
If coaches do not tell you what to do, as we
believe that you have the answers within yourself – why
enter into a coaching process, and with a stranger? Two main reasons.
The most important of all is that you are free to be as open as you
want with a person who will neither judge nor criticise you, and who
has no hidden agenda of how you ‘should’ be. Secondly, just
because of that clutter, the pressure, that is preventing you from finding
Perhaps the goal is too grand to be achieved
in one step and you cannot see how to break it down, perhaps
you lack belief in your ability, or you lack what you perceive to be
the necessary skills. The coaching process helps you to discover your
talents, unlocks new ways of looking at situations, challenges you to
produce new ideas. By finding your own answers, instead of being given
solutions that might not suit you, you will ‘own’ them,
be committed to them, believe in them and discover that you do have
the ability to realise your dream.
Sometimes the goal may change as you discover
what it is you really want, where your talents lie and how you
can best achieve your dream.
Most life or personal coaching is conducted on
the telephone so that many coaches never actually meet their
clients. Coaching is just as effective over the telephone as it is face-to-face:
think about it – over the telephone your coach really has to listen
to what you are saying! Also this makes the process very convenient
for both coach and client, it offers great flexibility for people with
busy lifestyles as the coach is easily accessible wherever the client
may be and, within reason, whenever the client may need support. Business
or Corporate Coaching is the opposite and normally takes place face-to-face
at the workplace – but still with complete confidentiality.