“Coaching” is a term that has become common in recent years. While it’s used often, people have differing understandings as to just what it means. Often, it’s thought of as “what Managers do to get the best out of their people”.
It can be seen as something that some individuals want to enter into freely, and others can see as a challenging process when it’s carried out by Management.
Clients that I have worked with describe it differently, “it can be seen as unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them”.
Coaching…what is it?
“Coaching” can be defined as “a developmental strategy that enables people to meet their goals for improved performance, growth or career enhancement.”
Often when we think of coaching it relates to the world of sport, an authority figure telling people what to do differently in the hope or expectation that they will achieve success.
In the world of business the coaching relationship involves two-way dialogue rather than one-way, otherwise known as “telling” or “instructing”.
Also, the focus is positive and objective, on particular improvements that the individual wants, rather than on deficiencies and personality factors.
Coaching…who gives it
When looking for a Coach you need to think about a Professional who has the willingness, the insight, the skills and the perspective which enables the individual to learn and grow from the experience.
Coaching and career development
More often we think of coaching as focused on job performance, and on getting people to do things better by “Management”.
This is a part of workplace development, but the process of guiding people around their career choices and growth also involves coaching and can often be best achieved away from the organisation.
When people think that “it’s time for a change”, or exploration of options, people generally look around and try out new possibilities for the next stage of their careers.
Again, this is generally not a wise thing to do, to explore other options with a workplace Manager, as it could be seen that you are thinking of leaving!
Often, coaching can help here by providing individuals with a person who can help debrief impressions, sort through options, and provide answers to the questions that arise from their explorations.
Input and perspective from a Coach can be invaluable in making the most out of the learning experiences these activities will involve.
How to use it well.
Coaching is about developing a person’s skills and knowledge so that their job performance improves, hopefully leading to the achievement of organisational objectives, or seeking out changes in their lives that will take them out of the “rut” they have been feeling they are “stuck” in.
It targets performance and improvement at work, although it may also have an impact on an individual’s private life.
It usually lasts for a short period and focuses on specific skills and goals.“
Food for thought…
“Mentoring” – is “telling” a person the answers
“Coaching” – is helping people find their own answers
If you are feeling that you need to make some changes in your professional or personal life, then perhaps you need to consider Coaching?