Coaching is a term that has become a buzz word and is becoming more familiar to people in the business world as well as with the general public, especially in the last few years. We hear people refer to different types of coaching and a wide group of the population seem to be aware of the existence of personal/life coaching, executive coaching, corporate and business coaching, group coaching and some specialty and certain niche coaching.
When looking at the meaning of coaching and what it actually entails, we need to look at definitions from a reputable source. The International Coaching Federation (ICF), which is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment”. They also add that “coaches honour the client as the expert in his or her life and work”.
The ICF go on to say that they believe every coach has several responsibilities. First, the coach is responsible to discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve, which means coaching is really focused on the client or the person who has chosen to engage with the coaching relationship. Second, the coach needs to encourage client self-discovery, which suggests that coaching focuses on the whole individual and the many elements of their being. Third, the coach is also said to encourage and elicit client-generated solutions and strategies as well as hold the client responsible and accountable. This shows that coaching is really a way for individuals to take ownership of their lives and the choices that they make. According the ICF the process “helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.”
The promise of growth and the creation of a fulfilling life are, of course, of interest to many if not all human beings. This is especially true in a world where individuals face many competing challenges in their lives. We live in a world of constant change, especially in terms of the business environment. Lives can be altered in a heartbeat due to organisational changes that happen as a result of economic fluctuations and even social, political and environmental reasons. Consumer attitudes are also changing and we demand more in terms of customer service and quick turn-around times, and therefore companies need to develop their executives, managers and employees to meet these demands.
Naturally, the aforementioned pressures, challenges and changes puts organisations and individuals in a position where there is a need for an intervention such as coaching to assist them in creating a better or more successful life or part of their life. According to coaching.com, the benefits of coaching are wide ranging. The Ken Blanchard Companies—a global leader in workplace learning, employee productivity, leadership and team development have studied the measurable impact of coaching on organisations. They say that numerous clients report that coaching positively impacted their careers as well as their lives by helping them to “establish and take action towards achieving goals, become more self-reliant, gain more job and life satisfaction, contribute more effectively to the team and the organization, take greater responsibility and accountability for actions and commitments, work more easily and productively with others (boss, direct reports, peers), communicate more effectively, establish and take action towards achieving goals and become more self-reliant.
The results in favour of coaching are not just in the form of anecdotal evidence or stories but they are also measurable. Some of the most common benefits described by Coaching.com’s client organizations include increased productivity by 70% improved work performance, 51% improved team effectiveness, 80% improved self-confidence, 67% improved life/work balance, and the list goes on. According to some experts, coaching is worth 5.7 times its cost (McGovern, 2001).
Each individual client might have a unique reason for choosing to explore coaching. Perhaps it is due to a current challenge or opportunity, maybe it is to close a knowledge or perceived skills gap, perhaps the individual wants to accelerate the rate at which he/she generates results in their business or personal life, maybe they are finding the effects of failures or even success difficult.
Depending on their reasons, a client may choose to explore a specific type of coaching practice. For example, a client may choose to pursue personal or life coaching, which is a “collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee.” Others may go for Executive coaching, which is “as for personal coaching, but it is specifically focused at senior management level where there is an expectation for the coach to feel as comfortable exploring business related topics, as personal development topics with the client in order to improve their personal performance.” (ICF.com)
In summary, it is clear that though there are a variety of models and types of coaching, the principles of these draw upon self-awareness and awareness of others, fostering shifts in perspective, promote fresh insights, provide new frameworks for looking at opportunities and challenges, as well as energising and inspiring forward actions. Coaching, in itself, is results-based.
4 Reasons Managers Should Spend More Time on Coaching. Joseph R. Weintraub, James M. Hunt. (2016, April 10). Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/05/4-reasons-managers-should-spend-more-time-on-coaching
Coaching Defined. (2016, April 11). Ret
rieved from http://www.associationforcoaching.com/pages/about/coaching-defined
Coaching FAQs. (2016, April 10). Retrieved from https://www.coachfederation.org/need/landing.cfm?ItemNumber=978&navItemNumber=567
Co-Active Coaching, 3rd Edition: Changing Business, Transforming Lives. Henry Kimsey-House, Laura Whitworth, Karen Kimsey-House, Phil Sandahl. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2011
Coaching through change by Fabrizio Zanier. (2016, April 11). Retrieved from
What Are the Benefits of Coaching? (2016, April 10) Retrieved from https://www.coaching.com/public/Find_Answers/Benefits_of_Coaching/