What coaching is
Coaching is a collaborative partnership between the coach and the client, sometimes referred to as coachee. The coach seeks to understand the client's goals, challenges, and needs, and then supports the client in creating action plans to make desired changes. Your coach may help you see additional perspectives, consider new ideas, and identity solutions you may not have thought of previously.
Coaching is a long-term process, not a one time event. Coaching, at its core, is about learning, growth and change, and lasting change takes time to implement.
In coaching, we also say we focus on the "who," or the whole person that you are. With your coach, you might explore your values, the vision you have for your life, your forgotten dreams, your passions, and/or your strengths.
What coaching is NOT
Coaching is not about fixing you, nor is it a sign of weakness if you hire a coach. Similar to how athletes hire coaches to help them improve their game, individuals hire coaches to help them build upon their strengths and improve skills, relationships, and more.
Coaching is not counseling, consulting, or therapy. Meaning, your coach will not tell you what to do or delve deeply into your past. In coaching, you may acknowledge your past, but your coach will help you focus more on the future: where you are going, who you want to be, and how to get there.
Common myths about coaching
Myth: Coaches give you advice or tell you what to do.
In reality, your coach should spend more time asking than telling. Your coach's role is to play an objective observer, asking you questions to facilitate discovery and insight, and help you decide where you are going.
Occasionally, I will share observations with my clients - words repeated frequently during a call, patterns in behavior over time, or other factors I notice in working with my clients. And occasionally, if a client is really stuck, I might make a suggestion, with their permission, but then I help them brainstorm additional ideas and then ask them to choose the best idea(s) to implement.
Myth: Coaching is only about fixing your weaknesses
In reality, coaching often supports people in identifying and further leveraging their strengths in their role. You may choose to work with your coach to address your weaknesses, or close gaps. But many coaches these days are helping their clients focus on their strengths as a way to continue to grow and develop. When we focus on our areas of strength, we often see much more development much more quickly than when we focus on fixing our weaknesses.
Myth: Coaching offers a quick fix
In reality, rarely does coaching quickly "fix what ails you." As I mentioned earlier in the post, most of the changes that my clients want to make take time to implement. Often, clients present with a challenge or problem, but as the coaching progresses, they decide to work in other areas first. And sometimes the coach might suggest working on things to let go of or stop doing before adding anything else to the client's life.
What else have you heard about coaching - good or bad?
In tomorrow's post, I'll share some benefits of coaching, and bring those benefits to life by highlighting an example from my own experiences as a client, plus share an example from one of my former clients.