Coaching…Is it Simply Talking?
Clients often wonder whether coaching will assist them to address an issue in their personal or business life. Many may have tried a range of different approaches but the change that they desire still eludes them. It is as if they see coaching as yet another way to attempt to “beat” their issue.
A common misunderstanding is that discussion, the wisdom of the coach and construction of well-defined goals will somehow lead to unbridled success. I am often reminded of a Council that I know that despite warnings, built houses on sandy land without modifications to their foundations and was surprised when the houses suffered subsidence which led to extremely costly remedial work and loss of public credibility!
What is coaching?
Coaching is a development technique based on one on one discussions to enhance an individual’s skills, knowledge or work performance.
“Coaching targets high performance and improvement at work and usually focuses on specific skills and goals, although it may also have an impact on an individual’s personal attributes (such as social interaction or confidence). The process typically lasts for a relatively short period.” (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – CIPD)
Coaching is also commonly geared to assisting individuals to make changes in their personal life.
Key components of the coaching relationship
- It is imperative that your coach has the experience, skills and knowledge that will assist you make the changes you desire and that you gel as individuals so that you can work as a team to achieve change.
- Trust needs to be established to ensure that each of you is open regarding the process and fully and realistically engages to achieve your goals.
- Empowerment of the client is a central theme of the coaching relationship.
- Confidentiality is overtly agreed and maintained.
What form does it take?
Coaching needs at times to be a holistic experience where all aspects of a person’s life are discussed and explored before working with the individual to determine the means to facilitate change or greater success.
This process needs to be tailored to the uniqueness of the individual rather than a systematic dissection of all aspects of a person’s life. The following case studies illustrate my point:
Person A has been bullied at work and has resigned because the bullying has led to extreme anxiety and panic. She wishes to obtain a new post. Whilst coaching will help her to succeed in the recruitment and selection process, the serious underlying psychological problems remain unaddressed. There are a range of key issues which need to be tackled:
- The fact that she allowed herself to be bullied.
- Her vulnerability which enabled the bullying to occur.
- The profound lack of confidence which limits success in other areas of her life.
The change this lady seeks requires an intensive psychological input to resolve the source of her anxiety and panic and the reasons for her vulnerability, before addressing the more traditional coaching input of ensuring that she is well prepared and able to perform successfully at an interview. The skills of the coach, at times, must include the ability to facilitate change in a range of complex psychological issues.
Person B is a surgeon and he is seeking his first consultant role, but he lacks confidence in his interview skills.
The work is far less complex, in that it requires only a minor psychological input, achieved with simple techniques, to resolve his lack of confidence. He broadly requires pure coaching to enable him to impress and sell himself during the selection process.
Additional benefits of coaching
An integral part of coaching is that you expose your thoughts and concerns to another party who you have given permission to explore, challenge, and question your perception and assertions. Through this process you can define the issue more clearly and begin to define a way forward.
If your coach has the breadth of experience and skill set necessary to resolve your issue in full, your life can be transformed.
You gain techniques and approaches which if deployed, will improve your performance in all areas of your life.
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