What is coaching and how can it help you?

Are you thinking about embarking on coaching and not sure how it can help you?

Coaching is a partnership designed to help you unlock your potential to maximise your performance, learning and growth.

Depending on what you need and what is important to you, coaching can help you build self-awareness, insight, confidence and skills in order to create positive changes and results in your personal or professional life. People who have experienced coaching report discovering new perspectives, making better decisions and achieving sustainable performance as a result of coaching.

Coaching is a collaborative relationship formed between coach and coachee for the purpose of attaining professional or personal development outcomes…valued by the coachee (Grant et al, 2010).

In essence coaching is a collaborative, dynamic relationship, with your coach acting as your champion, supporter, thinking partner and guide. It is a relationship built on purpose, trust, personal accountability and hope. Your coach supports you by listening deeply, asking questions and giving feedback that will help you to identify and focus on what you really want to achieve and how you are going to get there. A coach is not there to tell you what to do or how to get there, because that won’t help you develop your own skills or pathways. Her focus is to help you develop your own capabilities, resources and solutions so you can learn how to successfully navigate your environment and create sustainable success. Your role in coaching is to act on the insights you experience during coaching and put in focussed and consistent effort to make positive changes in your life.

Coaching is different from counselling. Many coaches have counselling skills, so they can help you tackle difficult issues and offer an empathic ear. Skilled coaches are trained to help you proactively manage the impact of your thinking, behaviour and emotions so you can develop more effective strategies to move forward. However, if therapy or psychological support is more appropriate for you now they will advise you to seek the support of a qualified mental health professional.

Good coaches draw on robust training, evidence-based practice, diverse expertise and their own experience in achieving personal and professional growth. They can have backgrounds in psychology/counselling, health/wellness, consulting, human resources, education/training, sports/performance, business or entrepreneurship and hold relevant and specific training that enable them to work flexibly with each person and their emerging needs.

As coaching requires commitment and work from both coach and coachee, people who get the most from coaching have a fierce desire for learning and growth. Coaching requires an open mindset and willingness to share and engage in honest, open conversations. Motivation to do the work, readiness to be coached and a supportive environment, along with good chemistry with your coach, are the strongest factors in achieving successful outcomes in coaching. Identifying a clear purpose or desired outcomes for coaching will also help you determine if coaching is right for you, what approach will suit you best and how you might measure success.

Sophie Francis is a business, brand and life coach. She draws on a background in positive psychology, leadership development and mind-body studies to help people navigate and create new pathways in their life and work. She has a Master of Business Coaching and is a member of the International Coach Federation. Visit www.sophiefrancis.com.
About the Author
Are you thinking about embarking on coaching and not sure how it can help you? Coaching is a partnership designed to help you unlock your potential to maximise your performance, learning and growth.