A coach is a professional skilled at asking the right questions to guide you towards identifying what you really want and how you are going to achieve that. A coach can also act as an objective outsider who facilitates a process of introspection, reflection and learning. Often we know the answers to our challenges, or have ideas or past lessons to improve our current performance or work/life situation – we just need time away from our day-to-day routine and to be faced with thought-provoking questions (ones different to those we repeatedly and unsuccessfully ask ourselves!).
Coaching is a practical tool that keeps individuals committed to getting the best for and from themselves, be it at work or in a personal context. You determine the agenda for the session(s). Finding a coach is a positive, decisive action that can be a powerful first step in embarking on a path of change or self-improvement. And as a company, it is an invaluable tool for developing the skills and impactfulness of employees at many levels.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, whilst expecting different results”.
Extremely capable people work with a coach because, although they already have the skills and competency to fulfil their goals, they want to take a step that will kick-start or focus them or gain them the clarity they need. A scheduled coaching appointment makes it easier to prioritise the ‘important, but non-urgent’ issues at work or in life. It offers a regular opportunity to step back and reflect, or to re-commit and get specific about achieving an objective.
Even top performers have coaches – world-class athletes to name just one example… Unlike the sports coach, however, in this context the coach is not necessarily an expert in the field of interest. The role of the coach is not to advise you, but to question, challenge, support and encourage. They are also trained to really listen and can help pick up limiting beliefs, unhelpful patterns or inconsistencies that may be holding you back. Above all, a coach ensures that individuals gain new insights or move towards clarifying or achieving goals every session.
What coaching is not…
Therapy or Counselling
– these tend to look to the past and/or offer interventions to resolve a particular issue or problem. Apart from occasionally drawing on past experiences/learning to inform the present, coaching looks at now and the future.
Business Consultancy, Mentoring or Specialist Advice
– coaching assists you in recognising the resources you need and where/how to locate/learn them. Coaching is based on the principle that you have all of the answers and resources you need within you or at your disposal. Hence, expect more questions than answers from your coach!
– a good coach is will never question your values, lifestyle or priorities. However, they may challenge you to check that you do really want what you say, point out any mixed messages you are communicating or draw your attention to conflicts in values that may be hindering you.