How does Coaching work?

Melody Cheal MSc

Have you ever wondered how does Coaching work? Even if you are already a Coach yourself it is worth considering the answer to this simple question.

Let me start by sharing some of my experience of Coaching in the Corporate setting.

Sometimes we provide the Coaches for an inhouse Coaching programme for one of our Corporate Clients and I have noticed something. Some of the people who take up the Coaching offer are not really clear what Coaching is and they may even be suspicious of it. I occasionally have clients who try to “prove” to me that they don’t need any help.

When this happens I often start with a re-set, explaining what Coaching is and some of the tools I might use but this doesn’t explain how Coaching works.

Coaching works on many different levels.

The first is the relationship level and this begins with clear contracting. In Coaching we use the term contract to mean the agreements and boundaries that provide the framework for Coaching.

An important boundary and agreement is about the level of confidentiality within the Coaching sessions. Where an organisation is paying for the bill it is important for the Coach to be clear about what level of confidentiality will exist. It is not automatic that everything within the Coaching session is confidential however for good Coaching there must be transparency. Most organisations understand that allowing the content of the Coaching relationship to remain confidential is important for both trust and effectiveness.

The trusting nature of the Coach/ Coachee relationship can help you with general well-being and self-care even before active Coaching begins. So Coaching works in that it provides you with a place to de-compress and breathe.

Your Coach will give you space to think and act as a sounding board. Often just talking your thoughts through out loud with someone listening and asking clarifying questions can be enough to help you find a solution for yourself. So Coaching works by giving you space to think things through in a supportive atmosphere.

If your thinking is muddled one thing your Coach can offer you is some structure to examine your thoughts more clearly. As you put your thinking into some kind of logical order you will find the answer you are looking for. So Coaching works by providing structure when needed.

Your Coach can also challenge you and give you feedback helping you to gain new perspectives that you may not have found on your own. There are many techniques your Coach can use to help you develop even more perspective. So Coaching works by helping you gain perspective.

I find that sharing models with my clients can be really powerful. I particularly like using Transactional Analysis (TA) and over a number of sessions I will help you build your knowledge of the models. The result is first you will develop greater self-awareness and how to recognise what is making other people tick. Models such as TA can help you manage relationships with people both at work and in your personal life more effectively. So Coaching works by helping you develop new interpersonal skills.

So how does Coaching work? You get to have a safe place to think, reflect, challenge yourself and learn. All of this helps you to live life happier and with more resilience. Coaching works by helping you take charge of your life.

Does that make sense to you? Do you agree? Or do you have other thoughts about how coaching works? I would love to know what you think.

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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