What is Coaching?

Melody Cheal, Coaching Supervision provider and trainer.What is Coaching?

You may wonder why I am writing such a basic post about “what is coaching?

Well, recently I have noticed that in some of our Corporate contracts there is some confusion. The people offered coaching have not really understood what it is. Some have even thought they were being punished.

In some cases the “client” has been defensive in sessions and appears to try to prove to the Coach that they are good at everything and don’t need help. In other cases the client goes into full blown download mode treating the session as a sort of therapy session. Finally in other cases  the client has expected the coach to provide instructions about how to deal with work place situations.

So with that in mind I am going to share some definitions and practical guides that will clarify:

  • What is Coaching?
  • What are the skills a Coach uses?
  • How does Coaching work?
  • What are the benefits of Coaching?
  • How do you choose a Coach?

What is Coaching?

Here is my definition of Coaching, I wonder if you will agree or have your own version.

Coaching consists of a relationship between the Coach and Client. The Coach uses approaches and techniques that help the Client move forward in some way, This may include helping the client to:

  • Clarify their own thinking.
  • Set clear goals or aims.
  • Gain new perspective.
  • Create an action plan.
  • Gain greater self-awareness.
  • Deepen knowledge and understanding of others behaviour and motivations.
  • Learn or develop strategies to help the client be more effective in a chosen environment.
  • Unpack challenging situations or conflicts in a safe space.
  • Receive feedback and challenge.
  • Have space to think.
  • To feel supported and valued.

It is also worth identifying what Coaching is not. Coaching is not counselling or therapy. Coaching tends to be future focused and counselling is not usually appropriate in Coaching. A Coach will not tell you what you should do or give you advice. A Coach may teach you a model to help you deepen self-awareness or develop strategies. They will not become your manager. Your Coach will hold a positive space for you and will refrain from judgement. Your Coach will help you to develop options, gain perspective and may provide a frame-work for action plans that you devise yourself.

Coaching provided within Organisations will normally have an agreed confidentiality agreement. This means the Coach will be open with you about what if any information will be shared with your employer. In th most effective agreements all discussions remain confidential so that trust can build between you and your Coach. The Coach will need to feed back to the Organisation if appointments are missed (particularly if your Coach is an external one). If the Organisation requires more feedback from sessions (and this is rare) a good Coach will be transparent with you about what will be shared.

Next time I will talk more about the type of tools a good Coach may use. Do let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions.

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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