Are you struggling with a challenge at work?
Do you have a goal which you can’t seem to get started on?
Do you envision something better from your career, relationships or lifestyle?
Coaching is a strategic partnership between coach and client. Your coach will help you clearly articulate your goal and establish a path to overcome existing barriers and achieve it. Your coach will help you develop awareness of your strengths, resources and skills that can be mustered in developing your own unique strategy for success. An important part of the coaching process is learning to recognize any existing bias, destructive thought patterns, language and behaviors which are working against you. This is perhaps the most critical discovery among coaching clients. Removing barriers and learning new ways to think about situations, using constructive language and reinforcing behaviors are also crucial to a successful coaching experience. Coach and client work together to explore opportunities, create an action plan and carefully monitor progress against that plan, in a relationship built on trust, support and confidentiality.
Unlike counseling, coaching is neither clinical service nor treatment. It empowers clients to become a better and more fulfilled version of themselves, an upgraded ‘ You, 2.0′ . Coaching can be effective for anyone looking to grow personally or professionally. Emphasis is on the process of developing practical thought and behavioral habits that move a client forward.
Coaching also differs from mentoring. While mentoring involves sharing knowledge and advice, coaching facilitates development of a client’s own solutions and action plans, elicited from the client’s own resources. Coaches listen, observe, mirror, shadow, guide, provide feedback and support, acting as a sounding board for ideas and as partner in accountability. The client learns to continuously monitor his or her own progress and adjust course as needed, ultimately developing a sense of self-accountability and sustainable follow-through habits.
The coaching process begins with a holistic exploration of current state of being and articulation of the desired future state. For example, the client may be a mid-level manager who wants to ’get a C-suite role’. Coach and client work together to clearly identify and articulate current and end states, then develop a plan to move forward. In this example, the coach may help the client refine broad goals into more tangible (and measurable) actions such as becoming comfortable presenting to a large group, establishing expert credibility among colleagues, regular contribution of leadership and company growth strategies, increasing earnings. Coaching often involves education and skill-building, and fosters a self-awareness of client perceptions, actions and beliefs as a means of taking positive action toward progress toward a specific goal.
As with many other professions, coaches vary in skill and competency. Look for a coach with academic credentials in psychology, applied positive psychology or behavioral science, one whose work is grounded in science and employs evidence-based techniques. Coaches are certified by governing boards and obtain specific coach training and supervised experience. Executive coaches often have additional management or business experience; health coaches may have clinical experience. Good coaches in any specialty are trained and certified in coaching; it is not enough to be a good listener or people-person. There are specific competencies, ethics and skills that coaches are required to practice and master. Above all, be sure your coach is someone you feel comfortable with and trust!