Coaching – What is it?

As explained in the About The Growth Coach page, I am working on becoming a Certified Professional Coach through the International Coach Academy.  I thought it would be important to take the time to explain what coaching is for those of you who may not have run across a coach outside the realm of the soccer field, baseball diamond, basketball court or you fill in the blank sporting arena.  Coaching is a relatively new profession.  As recent as twenty years ago, no one had heard of life, business or corporate coaching.  Today that has changed.  Well known news media has featured coaching in a variety of settings.  Marshall Goldsmith and Ram Charan have made Executive Coaching fairly well known but still, most people don’t think of coaching as an option for them.  Maybe you think….oh, that’s just for members of the C-Suite class…you know, CEOs, CFO’s, COOs, etc.  Or maybe your idea is that coaching is for those people who aren’t cutting it on the job.  Maybe you have personally known someone who was given a “coach” in order to correct some major behavioral problem like controlling anger or relating to people.   Perhaps you have it lumped together in a category you call “therapy” or “counseling.”  Despite your exposure to date, I find it part of my personal mission to dispel the myths so you might move forward with a new paradigm around this thing called “coaching.”

During a recent ICA training session, coaches from all around the globe weighed in on the question above.  Here are just a few of their responses:

Coaching is…

  • Helping people move from being good to being awesome
  • A relationship where one person “lifts” the other person up
  • Client-driven self-assessment to help the person achieve his or her goals
  • Communication with a lot of courage and compassion to help a person achieve a dream
  • About change.  A catalyst for bringing it about.  It enhances the quality of life
  • Non-judgmental, deep-listening and reflecting back to the client what you are hearing
  • Being a positive outcome devil’s advocate

I believe coaching can be all of these things.  In addition, when I think of coaching the first word that comes to mind is “growth”.  As stated by Theodore Roethke, “Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”  Each human being has untapped potential waiting to be put into action.  Having a coach helps to effectively access that potential.

The process of coaching involves providing confidential, customized support to a person one-on-one in a way that moves the individual from where he or she is to where he or she wants to be.  Coaching is future-focused and involves identifying specific goals and taking action.  Unlike counseling which looks back in time to assess how a person got to where he or she is today, coaching looks at where a person is today and identifies actions for moving forward to a client-identified goal.

Coaching can involve any topic or subject matter imaginable.   There are generally broad categories of coaches such as: life, sales, & business and then niches such as:  relationship, wellness & nutrition, leadership, executive, parenting etc.  The list goes on and on.  Not only are there a vast amount of categories and niches but a coach may also specialize in the type of client he or she serves for example I recently met a women who is a business coach focused on executive women.  Another example is a life coach focused on communication skills for expats who are integrating into a new country.

So if you haven’t gotten the point already, coaching is a viable option for you if you want to work with a professionally-trained, unbiased advocate who is focused on one thing only…. ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS.  This is not something your manager, significant other or best friend can provide!

I encourage you to give it a try when the time is right for you.


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