Confused about coaching? Facts you should know.
You would not be alone if you said that you have heard the term, 'coach' being used by so many people online. Coaching is a popular buzzword in the business world, but what does it actually mean? And how can coaching help you achieve your goals? In this post, we'll explore what coaching is and how it can benefit you. We'll also dispel some common myths about coaching and explain why it's a valuable tool for entrepreneurs, business leaders, consultants, and corporate professionals. So if you're confused about coaching or just curious to learn more, read on! It does not help when you see the word, 'coaching' banded around so much online for what really should be called, 'training'. A key distinction is that when you are being given instruction on how to do something then that is training. The difference with coaching is that the process is about unlocking untapped potential, creating awareness about what is actually going on and then ways to address the topic using your own resourcefulness. It's about behavior change which in turn will lead to different results for you that have much more of a chance of long lasting. The focus with coaching is on the present and future. A coache's greatest tool is, questions! Coaching is NOT...
A key distinction of mentoring is that, a mentor almost always has insider knowledge & experience in the topic in question. They have walked the path that you wish to take and they share their experiences and guide your approach. They could become a sponsor to you and open doors within their network once a trust relationship is built. Mentors generally provide their time for free whereas coaching is a paid service.
Counselling or Therapy
In contrast there is Counselling. The basis of this approach is rooted in psychology, the past and often trauma related situations. Conducted by a trained and certified practitioner specifically for this type of work. As a coach, often we encounter situations that would better be suited to counselling. In this situations, our code of ethics would steer us to direct a person to counselling and we do that in a considered and tactful way always putting our clients interest and comfort level first. A professional coach also receives training and is certified as a professional by a reputable industry accreditation body. There are professional standards to coaching and accreditation pathways
Let's turn to 'consulting'. In this approach, the consultant is to have subject matter expertise in the topic they are consulting for. Consultants have answers. A coach does not need to be a subject matter expertise in your industry. They could be but it is not necessary. A consultant does the work for you or gathers the information with recommendations. A good example of this is if you are an entrepreneur who wants to enter a new market. You could engage a consultant to research that market, identify key competitors, engages potential partners & comes back to you with a set recommendations & instructions to follow.
Similar to consulting, an advisor is a subject matter expert who can answer questions on a specific topic they are an expert in. The expertise can come from academic studies, technical knowledge, prior work/business experience. Whilst they might specific advice, their recommendations do not allows need to be acted upon. It would be up to you to know if there advice suits your needs before you apply it.
So what about Coaching? Coaching is a unique and valuable professional development tool, a powerful process that can help individuals reach their goals and unlock potential. As mentioned before, It’s not therapy, it’s not consulting, and it’s not teaching. It involves use of powerful questioning and a good relationship of trust between the coach and the person being coached. Professional coaches are trained and accredited just like any other profession. Look out for this when hiring a coach. This is a good way to know if you are dealing with a professional coach or someone who just calls themselves a coach.It is also worth knowing that a coach does not need to be a technical expert in your field or from your industry or operating environment. The skill of coaching is an expertise all by itself that can be applied to multiple contexts and environments. Coaching has been shown to be beneficial for people in all stages of their lives and careers. Whether you are an individual looking to get ahead in your career or a business owner who wants to create a thriving company culture, coaching could be the key to your success. Some types of coaches that you may have heard of are life coach, business coach, career coach, success coach, transition coach, executive coach & leadership coach. Depending upon the technical expertise of the coach, he or she may be able to coach you in more than one area. For instance in my work I can coach in all of the mentioned coaching categories. This is not only because of my technical training in coaching but also the environments I have worked in and the clients whom I have serviced. Coaching engagements can be short term or long term and the duration is dependant upon the need of the person being coached and the urgency of the result they are looking for. I hope the above has provided some clarity on coaching and how it works. Maybe consider areas of your life, career or business where you are seeking results. Could coaching be an option to support you?