Marcela Blog – Coaching | InterveneNow
“Unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their performance. It is about helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” Sir John Whitmore
Coaching is a notion used a lot lately. But what is it really?
There are so many different definitions out there, however coaching as defined by International Coach Federation (ICF) is “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential” (icfwashingtonstate.com)
Furthermore, there are many types of Coaching available (Solution focused or Result oriented, Brief Coaching, Executive Coaching, Coaching by pyramid, Integrative Coaching with polarization, Individual or Group Coaching, Career Coaching, Life Coaching, etc.). You can choose a coach with approach that best fits your style and planned outcomes.
History of Coaching
The word ‘coach’ originated from a Hungarian word used for a closed horse-drawn carriage. Today we use it in English also for a comfortably equipped single-decker bus used for longer journeys. The first use of the term “coach” in connection with an instructor or trainer arose around 1830 in Oxford University slang for a tutor who “carried” a student through an exam. The word “coaching” thus identified a process used to transport people from where they are to where they want to be. The first use of the term in relation to sports came in 1861. Historically the development of coaching has been influenced by many fields of activity, including adult education, the Human Potential Movement, large-group awareness training (LGAT) groups such as “est“, leadership studies, personal development, and psychology. (Wildflower, Leni (2013), The Hidden History of Coaching. Coaching in practice series. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
How is Coaching different from Therapy, Mentoring, or other methodologies?
So how is Coaching different from therapy, mentoring, training or counseling? It’s important to locate coaching in respect of various human resource development approaches. As a starting point, I’ll use the metaphor of learning to drive.
A consultant will advise you on the most appropriate car to drive.
A counsellor will try to address any anxieties that you have about driving.
A mentor will share their own driving experiences with you.
A coach will encourage you to get in and drive the car correctly. If that is what coachee desires as the outcome. Coaches adopt the belief that the coachee has the ability to change, and will make the best choice available to him/her. (The little book of Big coaching models; Bob Bates).
Coaching is a guided conversation, it’s coachee driven, and based on coachee’s needs, goals, and aspirations. In some aspects, Coaching and (for example) Psychotherapy, might overlap, or be used in parallel for the same topic. However, clients very often choose one or another, based on the methodology they currently prefer or need, or what topic/issue they are working on.
Coaching focuses mainly on the future, and doesn’t analyze past as psychotherapy does. It looks into where does coachee stand today, and where s/he wants to get to. Coach doesn’t give advices, like a mentor does, s/he also doesn’t judge coachee or his/her problem/topic, doesn’t ask ‘why’, doesn’t imply own opinions nor suggestions. Coaching focuses on the desired outcome, not the problem.
Professional coaching uses a range of communication skills (such as targeted restatements, listening, questioning, clarifying etc.) to help clients shift their perspectives and thereby discover different approaches to achieve their goals. Questioning is a skill of knowing how to ask the most useful question at the most appropriate time and in an empowering and thought-provoking way. All of these skills can be used in almost all types of coaching. In this sense, coaching is a form of “meta-profession” that can apply to supporting clients in any human endeavor, ranging from their concerns in health, personal, professional, sport, social, family, political, spiritual dimensions, etc. Coaching can be used as a developmental tool as it taps into the strong interpersonal skills, and therefore holds high quality, structured conversations. Coaching as a specific set of skills can be flexibly applied to help to:
- Connect to one’s strengths and feel valued as an individual
- Feel trust, confident and supported
- Achieve relevant goals
- Maximize one’s potential
- Become ‘even better’ and more ‘consciously competent’ in one’s role
- Find solutions and focus on personal growth
- Improve performance
- Gain a clearer perspective
- Resolve an issue of concern
- Explore new ideas, range of options, and actions to get them to their goals
- Become more creative and optimistic, positive and more confident about any change
(Coaching & Reflecting pocketbook, Peter Hook at al, 2006)
While differentiating between different methodologies, I need to mention also the difference between Coaching and Usage of the coaching style. From my experience, many supervisors, when practicing Performance Management, refer to it as a Coaching process, just because they are using questions while setting targets with their subordinates instead of assigning performance goals in a directive manner. It definitely is the correct way of setting goals or giving feedback, however that is not Coaching as such. Coaching is a process when coachee chooses their OWN goals. If the targets are assigned by the person ‘coaching’ them, (even though set by asking questions leading to agreement with the told targets), I’d call that a Performance management using coaching style rather than Coaching.
I used to study different therapies, however I do mainly Coaching these days. As I mentioned above and also in my blog about moving Onwards and upwards, in coaching, we don’t go back to the past to analyze it, we rather focus on the future. The only reason to go back in time is to look for the resources that have worked for us in the past, or to learn from the past, so called, mistakes, and move on. There’s no need to dwell in it for too long, to relive the pain again and again, and suffer. Failures in life are inevitable, but suffering is unnecessary really.
To book your Skype Coaching session with Marcela Lendvaiova, send a message on her Coaching Facebook page
Live with a grateful heart and a passionate mind.