Coaching is a professional relationship that enhances your ability to learn, make changes and achieve desired goals. Your coach helps you get clear about what you want to accomplish, set specific goals, make an effective action plan, stay focused and eliminate obstacles. In a coaching relationship, you and your coach prioritize, plan, analyze, troubleshoot, and brainstorm. Your coach provides structure, feedback, perspective, skill-building techniques and smart questions. Together you evaluate options, make decisions, track your progress and celebrate achievements.
Coaching is not consulting, although it is consultative. Traditional consulting offers answers and expertise. Coaching facilitates discovery by assisting you to find your own unique answers. Your coach provides his own expertise whenever it is useful, but never does things for you. The primary role of your coach is to listen, question, observe, pinpoint, re-frame and articulate what’s so. The plans you make are your own.
Coaching is not teaching, although it is educational. While teaching can fade, coaching reinforces learned concepts and skills until they become second nature. Your coach often provides skills training in the “need-to-know” moment that formal teaching misses. He also helps you discover how much you already know. You learn more by discovering answers than by hearing them.
Coaching is not therapy, although it is therapeutic. The focus of coaching is on taking a hard look at what a fulfilling life looks like, and then identifying specific plans, actions steps, and ways of thinking that will move you toward achieving your desired goals. Coaching is focused both on who you want to be in life and then on taking action; it is not focused specifically on creating healing. And yet, an outcome of coaching can be that healing takes place. It looks at the future, not the past. Why you are the way you are doesn’t matter. What matters is how you want to be.
Coaching unlocks a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. The structure of coaching is flexible. You and your coach custom-design a coaching arrangement that meets your individual needs and schedule. The basic design consists of:
- An initial session to create a coaching strategy
- Regular on-going coaching sessions (in person or by phone)
Coaching relationships generally last from three months to several years. The nature of your goals and the changes you wish to make will determine the length of time that makes the most sense for you.