What Is Coaching?
Coaching is a professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations, helping them to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. Coaches partner with their clients to design the life they want, bring out their clients’ own brilliance and resources so that they can achieve excellence and create purposeful, extraordinary lives and careers. By creating clarity, coaching moves the client into action, accelerating their progress by providing greater focus and awareness of all the possibilities which exist.
The underlying philosophy behind coaching is that we humans have immeasurable resources of energy, wisdom, ability and genius waiting to be set in motion. We can create the life we want faster and more easily by partnering with a coach who helps us utilize these resources to facilitate change and realize our potential.
Many of the early psychological theories (Adler, Jung, Ellis) and current theories such as Positive Psychology and the “solution focused” therapies are antecedents to modern day coaching. Instead of pathology as the main focus, these theories focus on behavior change through increased awareness and choices for desired future results and solutions to current problems in living, with the individual as the creator and artist of his or her life.
There is some perception that wanting/needing coaching is a sign of weakness or deficiency. That couldn't be further from the truth. Asking for help requires strength, asking someone to be a sounding-board and a thought-partner requires wisdom and humility, and asking someone to hold you accountable requires courage.
Like most things in life what you get out of the coaching process is relative and responsive to what you put into it. Most of us have a strong desire for self-determination so the more commitment to the coaching process the better the outcome; as coach and client we have to believe in the process and work together in that context. The objectives of the coaching have to come from "inside" you - the client. The coach is there to help the client do the work of setting goals, expanding their thinking, imagining and acting on new possibilities not to do the work for the client. As a client, you need to know that you are ultimately responsible for your life.
Growth and change take time - sometimes much more than we think! We all want to think that achieving our goals will take less time than it really does take. That can be losing ten pounds, improving our leadership style and execution, or pivoting to a new career. Call it optimism or wishful thinking we are often surprised and frustrated with how long things take. Long-term sustainable change doesn't happen overnight. Producing effective behavioral change in our lives isn't just checking the box, it is committing to ourselves for the long-haul. The coach is in it for the long-haul with you - even when you are frustrated, bored, or disappointed by your seeming lack of progress and results.
Growth and change can be a lot harder than you might think. The optimism or wishful thinking doesn't just apply to time, it applies to level of difficulty as well. It usually requires strong commitment and hard work. If this were not the case we would all be effortlessly happy, healthy, wealthy and wise all of the time. Understanding the price of success from the get-go will help to prevent the frustration and disappointment when challenges and set-backs arise along the way.
We all get distracted - life happens whether at work or at home. We can feel tempted to say - "Let's put this on hold until..." Fill in the blank. So many of us live conditional lives like this - I will do XYZ when... Other short and long term goals and needs will always compete with what we want to focus on. The coach helps the client weather the storm and move forward.
Not everything happens all at once. The long-term investment in yourself - the quality of your life and career pays off in different areas of your journey at different paces. The coach helps you to look at the big picture.
Life requires maintenance! Life is a process not a state of being. The ongoing process of personal and professional development never stops. Love the journey!
My coaching is also influenced by the International Association of Coaching's 15 Coaching Proficiencies. I was the second president of the Association and was there for four years. I spearheaded the development of its globally sourced certification criteria. You can read the 15 Coaching Proficiencies here.
Want to your own journey? Find out more about the A Time of My Own services here.