What is coaching and how can it help you?

Are you thinking about embarking on coaching and not sure how it can help you?

Coaching is a partnership designed to help you unlock your potential to maximise your performance, learning and growth.

Depending on what you need and what is important to you, coaching can help you build self-awareness, insight, confidence and skills in order to create positive changes in your personal or professional life. People who have experienced coaching report discovering valuable new perspectives, making better decisions and achieving sustainable performance.

Coaching is a collaborative relationship formed between coach and coachee for the purpose of attaining professional or personal development outcomes…valued by the coachee (Grant et al, 2010).

In essence coaching is a collaborative, dynamic relationship, with your coach acting as your champion, supporter, thinking partner and guide. It is a relationship built on purpose, trust, personal responsibility and hope. Your coach supports you by listening deeply, asking questions and giving feedback that will help you to identify and focus on what you really want to achieve and how you are going to get there. Your role is to act on the insights you experience during coaching and put in focussed and consistent effort to make positive changes.

A coach is not there to tell you what to do or how to get there, because that won’t help you develop your self, your skills or your sense of agency. Her focus is to help you develop your own capabilities, resources and solutions so you can learn how to move toward valued goals and create sustainable success. She may draw on tools such as personal profiling, reflective exercises and activities to further clarify your thinking, generate options and strengthen your sense of self. This approach enables you to make better decisions, gain more meaningful and satisfying outcomes and become a better navigator of your life.

Coaching is different from counselling. Many coaches have counselling skills, so they can help you tackle difficult issues and offer an empathic ear. Skilled coaches are trained to help you proactively manage the impact of your thinking, behaviour and emotions so you can develop more effective strategies to move forward. However, if therapy or psychological support is more appropriate for you now they will advise you to seek the support of a qualified mental health professional.

Coaching borrows from both consulting and therapy. What is unique about workplace coaching is it focuses on the future, fosters individual performance in a business context and helps people discover their own path (Harvard Business Review survey of organisational coaches, 2009).

Good coaches draw on robust training, current research, diverse expertise and their own experience in achieving personal and professional growth. They can have backgrounds in psychology/counselling, health/wellness, consulting, human resources, education/training, sports/performance, business or entrepreneurship and hold relevant and specific training that enables them to work with artistry and mastery with each person and their emerging needs. As coaching evolves from a growth industry to a more evidence-based professional practice, guidelines such as the Standards Australia Coaching in Organisations handbook, coaching codes of ethics and industry research are being designed to help coaches and their clients better understand how and when to use coaching.

Executives who get the most out of coaching have a fierce desire to learn and grow (Harvard Business Review survey of organisational coaches, 2009).

As coaching requires commitment and work from both coach and coachee, people who get the most from coaching have a fierce desire for learning and growth. Coaching requires an open mindset and willingness to share and engage in honest, open conversations. Motivation to do the work, readiness to be coached and a supportive environment, along with good chemistry with your coach, are the strongest factors in achieving successful outcomes in coaching. Identifying a clear purpose or desired outcomes for coaching will also help you determine if coaching is right for you, what approach will suit you best and how you might measure success.

I have designed a more complete coaching guide to help you understand what coaching is and is not, determine your coaching readiness and needs and choose a coach.

Contact me if you would like to start coaching or have a confidential chat about how coaching can help you.