Coaching = Process + Partnership + Path Forward

A few years ago, when I was in a leadership and management position at a large financial services company, I would have told you that I had a pretty good handle on coaching, what it is and is not. After all, it was my role to coach individuals and provide feedback to help them achieve their goals for their job. Isn’t that the same as coaching? In a word, no.

Coaching is very different from how most people interact with their manager at work. Of course, there are times on the job when a manager asks open ended, powerful questions, listens intently, relies on her intuition, and brings a genuine curiosity and care about your development — all of which are fundamental to the coaching process.

Yet at work, sometimes your manager has to shift into performance management mode where the discussion is about achieving a level of core competency required by the job, or she is sharing specific feedback and suggestions for changes in your behavior.  Coaching can be distinguished from other forms of “moving forward” in the workplace, for instance:

  • Mentoring, is where the mentor shares their experience in how they got the job done, sealed the promotion, etc.
  • Managing, is where the manager is focused on job performance and meeting individual and group goals.
  • Consulting, is where the consultant is giving advice, sharing three or more alternative courses of action and the client picks one.
  • Training, is where the trainer is working to increase or enhance specific skills or knowledge to improve business results.

Coaching is a process of discovery to inspire individuals to thrive in their personal and professional lives;  a partnership between client and coach to identify and to clear barriers to success; and a path to empower individuals to find their own answers and actions, which are always there. Coaching in all forms (e.g., life, leadership and executive coaching) focuses on drawing out your own answers from within; the coach never tells you what to do.

Some of the more common items brought forward by clients include gaining clarity on career or phase-of-life next steps; modifying unhealthy patterns (e.g., relationship with food and  exercise); identifying stress triggers and changing their response; improving decision making; evoking creativity; and pursuing an overall feeling of well being and balance. Just to name a few. The benefits of partnering with a coach for home or work (or both) issues including, for example:

  • The coaching process is a very broad framework; therefore, it can be successfully applied to virtually any life (home and work) situation. All encompassing. 
  • A foundational concept of co-active coaching is that the client is whole and complete, and brings the solution with them. Since you (the client) own the solution and action plan, you have more buy in and are more committed to the successful outcome. All from within.
  • Coaching can develop your natural ability to deal with life’s issues going forward. With your coach, you will likely learn powerful questions to ask yourself, and how to utilize various tools, so you’re in a better position to handle life’s curve balls as they come up. All about sustained growth. 

I welcome your comments and feedback!


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