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#28: What coaching is and is not ...

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Coaching is not Counselling, it is not Consulting and it is not Therapy

  • Counselling looks for causes behind problems and is generally remedial, emphasising deficits whilst exploring reactive problems and behaviours
  • Consultants tend to be subject/content experts (industry, technology, process) and are frequently expected to advise and provide answers
  • Therapy tends to focus on dysfunction and on past-related feelings and the resolution of old issues

So what is it?

Coaching is an interactive process where the coach guides and facilitates their clients progress towards defined goals and consists of a one-to-one relationship between a client and their coach, with regular structured sessions held either face-to-face or over the telephone, with the coach challenging the client to take actions and learn from insights during and between sessions.

Coaching needs to be supported by reliable techniques, including:

  • Having a clear structure to your coaching sessions i.e. ensure good focus, agree scope of each session, check-in on ‘current reality’, discuss progress so far and lessons learned, what’s next and encourage commitment to new actions, potential desired outcomes and agree timing of subsequent sessions
  • Put an emphasis on asking powerful questions which enable clarity and encourage reflection, which in turn enables self-awareness
  • Use the ability to listen at different levels (i.e. not just what is communicated verbally) and to challenge the individual to create choices for themselves, whilst giving helpful and supportive advice
  • Challenge the ‘GREMLIN’ on their shoulder! (the thing that puts doubts in their mind and is preventing them making progress)
  • Be prepared to challenge the individual to take responsibility for key actions which will take them forward – agreeing timeline targets and objectives
  • Establish any self-limiting beliefs
  • Build on self-belief and self-motivation in the individual through supportive feedback
  • Have the strength to be honest, whatever the feedback – being detached yet supportive is key to objective feedback
  • Honour the genuine belief that your client has what it takes to get there, and
  • Encourage learning from any disappointments or ‘failures’ along the way – there is no failure, only feedback!

Helping your client understand that it is OK to make mistakes is essential; it is how we learn after all.

People often think of sports coaches and this could be the closest to what we are looking for … bringing out the best from your client ....

Follow me on Twitter: @LangstoneandCo

And if you need more information or are looking for an experienced coach, see our coaching page.


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