Coaching is a partnership in which a coach supports a client to achieve a goal. This can involve helping the client with any or all of the following: setting a goal, working out how to achieve it, and then supporting the client as they achieve it.
Coaching normally takes the form of a conversation or number of conversations, either face-to-face, by telephone or videoconference (e.g. Skype).
Coaching is not like counselling or therapy, where a qualified professional gives you the answers to your difficult situation. A coach will not tell you what to do. A coach believes that the client has the answers in their minds already, but they either need guidance to find the answers, or support to act on them. Coaching is a partnership of equals, but as in many sports, the coach stays out of the limelight while the client gets the glory. It is worth stressing that a good coach is happy to operate this way.
The coach challenges the client to act outside of their comfort zone by asking powerful questions relevant to the client’s situation, and supports you as you make progress. To this end, your coach will expect you to commit to taking challenging steps, and to complete these steps.
While anyone can benefit from coaching, individual coaching clients are typically people who find themselves stuck in some way. They may need help to find a new path or a way out of a difficult situation, or they may know what they want to do but for some reason they are not doing it. A coach can help clients find the motivation to achieve the goals they are aiming for.
In The Coaching Manual, Julie Starr lists the potential benefits of coaching as including the following:
My mission in coaching is very simple: To help you improve your life.
I firmly believe that coaching is a partnership of equals: that is, I am not superior to you. I do not operate like a teacher or a parent, or even like a sports coach who might just tell someone what to do. I respect you and know that you are the only person capable of creating the best solutions for you. What is best for me, or for another client, might not be best for you.
With that in mind, the responsibility for change and improvement rests solely with you. I cannot and will not do the work for you. My job is to help you work out what you want to do, how to do it, and help you stay on track. I will do this by getting to know you and asking you powerful questions about your life and your goals. This may make you uncomfortable: indeed, it is best if it does make you uncomfortable, because it is only when you are uncomfortable that you can grow.
At the end of each session, we will agree goals for you to work on before the following session. It is important that you complete these, because it is only by taking the necessary action that you will achieve your goals. All targets will be SMART, that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Deadlined. Vague targets bring vague results.
It may be that you already know what you want to do and even how to do it, but you are struggling to take action. Having a coach is a great way to make sure you take the actions, because as your coach, I will hold you accountable in each session. I want you to succeed, therefore I will only ask you to commit to things that you can do and that are relevant to your goals. But you must be willing to take action.
I prefer to coach by Skype or FaceTime, because this allows us to build the best rapport with each other. However, I can coach you over the phone too.
So how will your coaching programme unfold? First, we will have a 30-minute consultation during which you can ask me any questions you have about coaching and how we would work together, and I can ask you some general questions about what you would like help with. This will allow us to decide whether coaching is right for you, whether I am the right coach for you, and also how we will proceed.
After the consultation, I will usually send you a Life Assessment Check questionnaire for you to fill in and return before our first session. This will allow us to look over your whole life to find where difficulties might be emerging or combining to prevent you from reaching your goals, and where opportunities for improvement exist.
The Life Assessment Check is also helpful because it could show major issues that were not previously obvious to you.
Your coaching programme will last as long as you need it to. If we are only working on one goal, then we might only work together until you have completed that goal, or we might move on to another. It is not advisable for coaching to continue indefinitely: not least because after a long period of time, the same voice no longer has the same impact on you and a fresh approach will be needed.
My aim in your coaching programme is not to become indispensable to you, but to take you as far as you can go with my assistance. If you have improved your mindset enough to be able to continue improving your life without my assistance, or if I have helped you reach the point where you need more specialist assistance from someone else, then I will have done my job well!
Contact me for a free, no obligation consultation to find out how I can help you.