In its simplest form, coaching is about helping another person achieve their personal or professional goals.
If you’re like most people, you probably envision an athletic coach when you hear the word “coach”, but they are two very different relationships. A sports coach assists athletes in developing to their full athletic potential by analyzing their performance and providing instruction for relevant skills.
A professional coach, on the other hand, helps their clients find clarity from within, overcome challenges with their own solutions, and ultimately accomplish their goals on their own terms. Coaching, at its very best, is about helping people make profound and lasting shifts in their lives by pushing them to dig deeper so they can unlock their true potential.
Coaches help clients assess their life as it is now and work out how to change it to the way they want to be in future – fitter, happier and possibly richer. Getting a coach may seem as commonplace as having a personal trainer, yet coaching has been increasingly touted as a must have for those who take themselves and their accomplishments seriously.
The client is the only expert in his or her entire life who truly knows who they are and what they need. The individual is the only expert who can recognize what is absolutely best for themselves. Coaches are simply experts in the coaching process. Coaches help clients discover what their own personal “best” might be. Coaches believe that clients know the answers to every question or challenge they may have in their life, even if those answers appear to be obscured, concealed or hidden inside.
Coaching can help you to do even greater things with your time and effort. Sometimes with as little as one half-hour telephone call each week, coaches check in with their clients to support, encourage and galvanize them to continue with the commitments they have already made.
Coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client’s personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what the obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make life be what the client wants it to be.
Sometimes it’s beneficial to look at what coaching is not to get a better clarification.
Coaching is not consulting. Consultants improve situations; coaches improve people. Clients hire a consultant (an external expert) to help them define their problems and formulate solutions. The consultant is usually viewed as the expert in what needs to be done and may go so far as to implement the solutions they recommend. In contrast, a coach doesn’t have their own agenda and doesn’t use their personal experiences as a model of success for their client. The coaching methodology views clients as the “experts” in their own lives and businesses. A coach does not tell a client what to do but rather facilitates the client in discovering their own answers. It might seem more expedient to just deliver advice, but research shows that people are much more likely to take ownership of, and follow through on, ideas that are their own, and thus, get the outcome they desire. A coach can certainly have valuable experience and insight in the client’s field, however, their value lies not in their technical expertise but in the ability to help a client draw from within their own experience and wisdom as they move ahead.
Coaching isn’t mentoring either. A mentor says, “follow me.” A coach reveals where the client is standing on the map and asks, “where shall we go next?” Mentoring can be likened to serving as a wise role model. Mentoring is usually about helping the client to emulate the mentor’s own success. A mentor is often chosen because they have traveled the road the person, they mentor wishes to follow. Unlike mentoring, coaching techniques are designed to help individuals find their own path and discover their own strengths, skills, and blind spots. After all, just because one person was successful doing something one way, it does not guarantee that everyone will be equally successful following the same path, the same way.
Coaching is not therapy. Therapy examines the past to help a client cope with the present. Coaching builds on the present to create the future. Generally, therapists work to move their patient from a state of dysfunction to being a fully functional individual. Often this centers on resolving conflict within the individual or in a relationship, overcoming past issues, healing trauma, and sometimes managing mental illness. Therapy, therefore, must often deal with the past so that a patient can exist in the present. Coaching clients, in contrast, are already working at a functional level. They’re on their feet, they have goals in mind, and it’s the coach’s job to help them see past the inner obstacles holding them back and empower them to take action so they can perform at an optimal level.
Coaching isn’t training. Training is curriculum focused. Coaching is client focused. Training is an effective approach when specific skills or objectives must be mastered. An established curriculum is presented by a trainer or instructor, set objectives are met, and the material does not differ from person to person. A pre-test and post-test can even determine if the student successfully moved from point A to point B in their understanding of the subject.
Coaching is a designed alliance between coach and client where the coaching relationship continually gives all the power back to the client. It seems that the ongoing nature of coaching is what seems to help people. It’s regular and in short, sharp bursts, focusing on accountability and short and long-term goal setting.
While many people seek out a coach to help them to make big changes in their lives, at the same time there are thousands of others who get a coach after musing contentedly: ‘Life’s all right, but how could it be better?’
Also, coaches often take on pro-bono clients, so it’s fairly easy to give coaching a whirl before you decide to pay for coaching services. Fees can range from $50-$5000 per hour and coaching is usually conducted by phone with email contact in between calls.
If you would like to know more about coaching, it’s benefits and whether it would help you, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
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