What is Coaching?

what is coaching

It's not difficult to know a thing, what is difficult is to know how to use what you know. -Han Fei Tzu

Coaching is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person or team to fully live out their calling – in their life and profession. The goal of coaching is for you to listen to your inner-being, discover new things about yourself, and take action to reshape your life around that learning. The coaching relationship is expected to produce insights, greater personal awareness, changed behaviors, actions, and ultimately results that satisfy the client. Much is expected of you: to evaluate, reason, imagine, decide, and implement.

What Coaching Is

Coaching is about you – your goals, your learning, and your growth. Together you and your coach will listen to your inner-self to hear about you. Coaching is about learning – rather than teaching. You are the expert on your life. Your coach uses coaching techniques such as active listening, open questions, encouragement, challenging a bit, and always remaining supportive. All to assist you in discovering insights and taking next steps. Coaching is about action – your action. Each session you will determine 1-3 actions steps you will take before the next session. You may be surprised how quickly you progress toward your goals. Coaching is about all of you – not just your work. We all know that changing old habits and thought patterns are difficult. Your coach recognizes these patterns and will support you as you change and grow.

What Coaching Isn’t

It’s not therapy. Although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving, etc., therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person to move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented, for people who are basically clear of psychological and emotional issues. It’s not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. They may use some coaching techniques, but mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom. It’s not training. In training, the trainer sets the agenda. Change comes from outside the participant, via the trainer. In coaching, you set the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within you. It’s not authoritarian. Did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. Your coach will push you beyond what you might think you can do, but will always be supportive. You are in control. The responsibility to decide and act is yours.