What Is Coaching?

Are you wondering what exactly coaching is? Do you think it’s just another name for consulting or therapy? Or that all coaches are either too pushy or too gentle and feelings focused?

Well coaching is not the same as consulting or therapy. And there are many types of coaches. (Though a coach should only push you to achieve what you want or do better in different areas of your life/business/etc. or if you’ve asked them to push you.)

The purpose of coaching is to help you make positive progress. This can mean supporting you in achieving your goals, helping you get un-stuck, improving something (or many things) over time, or many other things.

A coach can…

  • help you sort through your overwhelming mess of jumbled thoughts and turn them into a clear action plan.
  • help you get unstuck, and keep you on track, steadily making progress on your goals.
  • boost your confidence and encourage you to go after big goals.
  • be a sounding board for you, and help you figure out what you want.
  • suggest things you might not have thought of.
  • help you figure out what you need to do to go from idea to reality.
  • help you prioritize, simplify, and create a reasonable plan so you aren’t overwhelmed and struggling to balance all the things you need and want to do.
  • help you work through your fears and deal with obstacles.
  • help you look at the big picture and/or see things from a different perspective.
  • help you stay focused on what’s important to you.
  • help you (and your business) to grow.

And so much more. A coach can help you improve your business and/or life in so many ways.

The main components of coaching are active listening and asking helpful questions, and most coaching models also include setting goals and figuring out how to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

Definitions Of Coaching

Here is the International Coach Academy’s definition of coaching according to episode one of the CoachStreet podcast – What is Coaching?.

International Coach Academy’s Definition Of Coaching:

“At its most basic, coaching is a methodology for creating change; for moving an individual or organization from where they are now to where they want to be. There is no one way to coach and no one coaching model. Rather coaching blends concepts from business, psychology, philosophy, sports and spirituality (to name a few)

Is it training? No, training programs usually have a predetermined learning outcome. In coaching the client decides the outcome.

Is it Consulting? No, coaching is different from consulting in that it does not seek to present the solutions or answers. Rather a coach supports and challenges their client to find their own answers.

Is it Therapy? No, coaching is not therapy and in fact an early skill to learn as a coach is when to refer a client to a therapist. It is a generalisation, but most coaches are more interested in the future than uncovering issues in their client’s past.”

Andrea Lee had a very simple (but pretty fantastic) definition of coaching.

“You know, to me it’s very simple. Coaching is this thing that enhances everything else in life.

It’s an advanced level of communication. And that communication allows us to get what we want out of life in as effective a way as possible.” – Andrea Lee

Robyn Logan had some good things to say as well.

“I think coaching is, at its core, a method or methodology of getting from one point to another point.

“In a way, I sometimes think of coaching as strategic planning for the individual. If you think about what happens in an organization with the strategic planning process where you look at where they are now, maybe a SWOT analysis, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Look at the vision, where do you want to be. And then map out how to get there. But in that instance, it’s a bit more directive. So the difference between that and coaching, I see, it’s a method for creating change, bringing that change, moving someone forward. But it’s done in a very client-centered, client-focused way. And that, to me, is probably the main difference between coaching and some other things like consulting and training.”

“I think this is another really critical piece in the coaching definition. That in the coach-client relationship, it’s not what the coach thinks should happen… It’s driven by the client’s agenda. And it’s the coach’s job to listen very deeply, to observe,to ask very powerful questions. Sometimes, the client doesn’t know what their agenda is and it might even take some time. And then once you have that, it is the coach’s role to support, challenge, assist the client to that end.” – Robyn Logan

Robyn does a great job of explaining what coaching is, but I think my favorite definition is this one by Thomas Leonard.
“A Coach is your partner in achieving your personal goals, your champion during turnaround, your trainer in communication and life skills, your sounding board when making choices, your motivator when strong actions are called for, your unconditional support when you take a hit, your mentor in personal development, your co-designer when developing an extraordinary project, your beacon during stormy times, your wake-up call if you don’t hear your own, and most importantly: your partner in living the life you know you’re ready for, personally and professionally.” - Thomas Leonard
That is a great description of what a good coach can do for you.

Still not sure what coaching is? Why not try a session and experience it for yourself?

Posted in Personal Development & Self Improvement Tagged with: ,

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