What is Coaching?
Coaching supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is a means to help people move from where they are to where they want to be in a structured and supportive environment.
Coaching is personalized, customized, and conducted one-on-one for a defined period of time, usually with a specific purpose in mind. The primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one's work or personal life. Coaching cultivates increased self-awareness and confidence that helps people realize their full potential.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “…partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
Characteristics of Coaching
- Present- and future-oriented
- Focused on results / desired outcomes
- Acknowledges that we are “whole selves”
- A learning experience
- A self-discovery and change process
- Agenda is always driven by the coachee
- Positions the coachee as the expert in their life
What Coaching Is (And What it Isn't)
A partnership between coach and coachee
A process for the coachee to discover what is best for them
A future-oriented, goal-focused approach to help you get you where you wish to be next
An individually tailored opportunity to enhance knowledge (or skills) development
A forward-looking, positive way to explore development options and opportunities
Coaching is not...
Consulting: a method to get an expert’s advice on what to do
Mentoring: observing and learning from a seasoned professional
Psychotherapy: the focus is more on healing from the past and/or treating mental illness
Training: a set learning event that provides knowledge and techniques to develop skills
Remediation/Corrective Action: a way to “fix” employee problems or performance issue
The Value of Coaching
Effective coaching programs benefit both the coachee and the organization by promoting a development culture, unlocking potential, improving performance, supporting wellbeing, and increasing knowledge sharing. Coaching exists as a resource to support individuals and help them thrive in the face of everyday adversity, stress, and life challenges.
What Do You Want Out of Coaching?
Having a goal or topic in mind can help the coaching process along, however, goals can be specific or vague. The broader the goal, the better – it will evolve over time. Your coach will act as a sounding board as your goals change and develop.
Examples of individual coaching goals:
- Discuss a personal or professional situation that is affecting my work
- Explore options for career growth
- Work on my leadership/management style
- Increase my overall health and well-being
- Talk through options for handling a workplace conflict
- Work more easily and productively with others (boss, direct reports, peers
- Increase work/career fulfillment
- Contribute more effectively to my team and the organization (improve work performance)
- Improve my relationship-building skills, communication skills, conflict management skills, etc.
- Increase my self-confidence and self-efficacy
Roles and Expectations of Coachee and Coach
A positive coaching experience depends on a high level of trust between coach and coachee. The coach-coachee relationship is sacred. Trust depends on transparency and confidentiality; it is essential to establish expectations up front, so each party is fully aware of their role and responsibilities in the relationship.