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This blog post will explain some of the key concepts around what coaching is and is not, as well as some of the key benefits it can offer to people and organisations. Chris Sheepshanks’ 2014 article provides a clear description of these points and some of that material is laid out below.

What is Coaching?

  • Coaching enables people or teams to develop capability, and to maximise potential.
  • It enhances your own learning, performance and enjoyment.
  • Coaching creates a ‘conversation’ with your coach, who utilises strong listening skill, effective questions and the proper deployment of a range of concepts or techniques. It raises awareness, widens perspective and increases understanding about how you are engaging with your goals.
  • Coaching provides a safe and trusting environment for you to freely explore the topic that you wish to discuss.
  • It identifies clear goals, and builds greater awareness of self and of others.
  • Coaching enables people to become more authentic leaders of themselves and others. It creates greater choice and flexibility in the leadership style they wish to deploy.
  • Coaching focuses on increasing personal responsibility. As a result, it requires final authority for action, transformation and change to remain with you, the coachee.

What Coaching is Not

  • Coaching is not mentoring – A coach will not ‘tell’ what you to do and will resist responding to requests for ‘advice’.
  • Coaching is not counselling – It is possible for the process to be ‘therapeutic’, and you may explore very personal issues with your coach. However, it will only be done to enhance your self-awareness and understanding so that you can effectively meet your goals.
  • Coaching is not an appraisal of your skills – A coach will not judge or test you, but will provide a safe environment in order to explore how you will become more effective in what you do.
  • Coaching is not remedial in tone – A coach is actually there to develop your potential. A high level of supportive challenge is provided in order for you to reach that potential.

What are the Key Benefits of Coaching?

Benefits to Individuals

It allows you to discover your life purpose, your dreams, who you truly are and who you want to become. The aim is to empower and support you. You will no longer see your problems as unsolvable. You gain perspective and insight in order to achieve your goals more successfully.

Ultimately, working with a coach creates the freedom for you to experiment. Positive outcomes include expanding your self-awareness, unlearning stale habits and shifting outdated assumptions and beliefs.

Your coach enables you to gain access to seeing another perspective, and this will be more far-reaching than the perspective you usually have about yourself, your career and your life. Your coach asks you penetrating questions and give you candid feedback, designed to get under the surface.

Together with your coach:

  • You create a vision and new possibilities for your work and your life
  • Discover what you stand for in life
  • Specify areas of unfulfilled potential and what you want to do
  • Identify the purpose which calls you into action
  • Find which commitments will support you in fulfilling your vision
  • Create a context for your plan that inspires and excites you and motivates you into action
  • Commit to the actions and the next steps that you need to take to turn it from a good idea to a reality

Benefits to Organisations

And for organisations, coaching can:

  • Provide highly tailored and personal support within the boundaries of a supportive environment. This develops and supports people during times of stress or challenge. It allows them to generate the ‘space’ with which to gain a deeper understanding of the issues which face them.
  • Ask people to set stretching and personally challenging goals, and then think creatively about ways to meet them. This is in service of their own learning and performance, and those whom they lead and manage.
  • Align personal and organisational needs. Often, developmental interventions cater to the individual to the detriment of business goals. A coaching programme recognises the need to align an intervention to organisational need. Conversely, there is still a requirement to ensure relevance and practical importance to the individual.

If you, or someone you know could benefit from being coached to success then please contact me.