What is professional coaching?
The international Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as:
“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Trained coaches honour the client as the expert in his/her life and work, and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.”
How does coaching differ from other support professions?
Coaching focuses on setting and meeting goals, and achieving personal change. You may be familiar with other supportive services that differ from coaching.
- Therapy:Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict with the focus often being on resolving difficulties related to the past that keep an individual from dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways.
- Coaching supports personal and professional growth based on change you initiate and goals you identify. During coaching we focus on action accountability, and follow through in areas you identify as important to you.
- Consulting:Individuals or organizations hire consultants for their expertise and they are often expected to lead necessary change by diagnosing problems, identifying and sometimes implementing those solutions.
- Coaching assumes individuals or teams are capable of coming up with their own solutions to their problems with the coach providing support and guidance through the use of discovery-based techniques.
- Mentoring:A mentor is an expert whose experience guides an individual through advising, counselling and coaching.
- Coaching does not include advising or counselling unless permission is given in a session. Focus is one the individual or group reaching their own identified goals.
- Training:Training programs are based on objectives identified by the instructor and tends to have a set curriculum identified at the outset.
- In the coaching process objectives are identified by the person or team being coached, with the coach acting as a guide. Unlike training this process tends to be less linear and pre-set.
What are typical reasons someone might work with a coach?
You might be looking to work with a coach if:
- Your work and life are feeling out of balance and you are beginning to see the effects
- You want to identify your core strengths and learn how to best use them
- You want to identify and align with your life’s purpose
- You find yourself in a time of transition and want to clarify goals, next steps, and options
- This is a significant time and you have a great opportunity or challenge ahead
- You have a gap between where you are and where you want to be, and you’d like to close the gap and move forward
- You want to speed up your results in an area of your life
- You are looking for clarification between several options available to you
- You’ve been successful in the past and are looking to take the next step, or learning how to balance your current success with other areas of your life
How do I know if my coaching has been successful?
You can measure the success of your coaching experience through two ways: external measure of performance and internal indicators of success. Ideally, you’ll experience both.
Examples of external measures can include: achievement of coaching goals, increased income or revenue, improved performance. External measures that you may select should be ones you are already measuring and that you have some ability to directly influence.
Examples of internal measures can include self-scoring assessments that can be taken at the start of the coaching relationship and repeated at regular intervals in the coaching process. You may also see changes in your self-awareness and the awareness of others, positive shifts in thinking and/or your emotional state.
To find out more about the profession of Coaching check out the International Coach Federation website.