Coaching encourages learning, growth, and teamwork and it enables individuals to broaden their horizons, develop new skills, and motivate themselves to achieve improvement in performance or the achievement of specific goals.
Often, coaching is a means of exploring ideas in a safe and non-judgemental space, with the ability to say things to a coach that the individual might be reluctant to discuss with friends, relatives or colleagues. The coach is unconditionally on the side of the coached person – the aim is to help the individual, not further the aims of the coach. The individual’s interests are the sole concern of the coach. They will support and motivate and help the individual to work through issues and develop new ideas.
This is not to say that a coach will not provide challenge and provoke thought. Their job is not to nod politely and say everything is fine as it is, but to help the coached person to challenge their limiting beliefs and grow.
Arguably, coaching does not involve instruction – that is the job of a trainer. However, many people being coached welcome answers and are actively looking for shortcuts, advice, and ideas that will help them more quickly than ‘discovering’ things for themselves. You need to be clear when being coached, or coaching others, that the rules are understood. Is the coachee expecting advice, or will they reject it if offered unsolicited? As long as the relationship is clear, either option can be perfectly valid.
Coaching is a multi-million pound industry, delivering tangible and intangible results daily. But it’s not for everyone. Some people relish discussion and exploration of ideas with other people, others don’t and prefer self-study, reading and reflection. If coaching is right for you, select your coach carefully and don’t rush into a relationship unless you are happy that there is rapport, mutual respect, and that your aims can be met.