What is coaching?

The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

Coaching is defined in a number of different ways, but from a pure perspective, coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance.

Whatever definition you use, coaching is very much about becoming the best that you can be, whether that be in your career, business, your chosen activity or in your personal life.

What does a coach do?

A good coach will help raise awareness within you, their client, as to where you are right at that moment, work out where you want to be, what your dreams and desires are for your future, and help you create a step by step plan of action to get you there. Coaching will help you get to where you want to be much quicker and more effectively than if you had been working alone.

You can also work on issues in the here and now that you need help with, such as challenges at work or in your personal life.

How does coaching work?

A coach is skilled in using active listening techniques to generate powerful questions that are intended to get you thinking. In general, we have all the answers we need within us. But, as Albert Einstein is often quoted, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. So we have to change our thinking.

And that’s what coaching will help us do.

Through questioning, you will be able to explore different ideas that you might not have thought about consciously, but that are sitting in your unconscious mind waiting to be pulled out.

Benefits of coaching

There are many benefits of coaching, and it can benefit both the individual and the organisation.

Benefits for the individual:

  • Improvement in an individual’s performance, targets and goals.
  • Increased openness to personal learning and development
  • Increased personal awareness Increases ownership, responsibility and accountability
  • Increased ability to identify solutions to specific issues Increases job and life satisfaction

Benefits for the organisation:

There are many benefits for the organisation when they embrace coaching within their people development processes. When people thrive within an organisation, the organisation will excel. Coaching will help employees to thrive.

Other benefits are:

Releases fuller use of individual’s talents and potential

  • Higher organisational performance/productivity
  • Increases creativity, learning and knowledge
  • Increases motivation and empowers individuals to excel
  • Facilitates the adoption of new ideas, cultures, styles
  • Improves relationships between people and departments

How do you get the most out of a coaching program?

When you enter into a coaching space with your chosen coach, you have an opportunity to make a real difference to your life, both at that moment in time and in your future.

To make the most of your coaching program, you need to be open and honest and express yourself.

Be prepared to take responsibility for your future and stay curious about yourself, your situation and any opportunities that might come to you through your discussions.

Take time to reflect after each session: what went well, what did you enjoy, what made you feel uncomfortable, why was this etc.

Above all, get the most out of it that you can.