Coaching Explained

Someone once said

“Coaching is like having a personal trainer for your life”

Often in life, we need assistance with some of the more personal aspects of life. For example, clients can have a range of private issues such as:

  • how can I communicate more effectively and better than I do?
  • how can I gain in more confidence?
  • how can I be more assertive and say what’s on my mind?
  • how can I take more risks and step out more?
  • how can I be more organised?
  • how can I be more disciplined?
  • how can I stop procrastinating?

The issues are many and varied, however clients know where they currently are (and don’t want to be) and instead, seek assistance to move towards a better place.

Coaching Defined

Coaching is quickly becoming one of the leading tools and strategies that successful people are using in order to enhance their lives further and allow them to lead extraordinary lives. According to IBISWorld in 2017 in an article headed, “Life Coaches: Market Research Report”, coaching (as distinct from executive or leadership coaching), is growing currently at nearly 5% per year.

Finally, let’s understand the differences…a ONE sentence Vignette…

Because coaching can help resolve a problem within a relatively short time period.Because the world is changing and fast. Individuals and organisations must keep reinventing themselves if they are to survive and people must keep reinventing themselves and updating their skills in all areas of their lives if they are to be employed by these businesses. In fact, the Financial Times in 2013 reported in an article titled, “We want coaching, say his-fliers”, more companies now actively encourage, and fund, their rising stars to have regular time with a professional coach.

Why is Coaching Necessary?

Because coaching has the potential to address a number of human resources issues such as:

  • decreased satisfaction or motivation with work
  • strong desire to advance within the organisation, but without the ability or direction to do so
  • need to pass expertise from valued senior workers to new workers
  • to retain workers and provide more commitment

Because coaching has the means to allow individuals to reach their goals and their dreams in a way that they could not do alone themselves.

Where has Coaching Come From?

During the 1960’s, the business world started to look at sports coaching and adapt the techniques for use in training and development. These techniques have been developed and enhanced and today coaching is one of the fastest-growing personal development strategies used by CEO’s, senior managers, entrepreneurs, professionals and people generally wanting to improve their situation.

It’s a Partnership

The coaching relationship is a partnership – an equal relationship allowing the client room to move yet being accountable so that he / she can be the kind of person that they would like to be, to achieve the kind of life that they would like to have, and to achieve the goals that they would like to gain.

The Core of Coaching

At the core of coaching is the principle of goal setting which is a basic paradigm that is fundamental to both individual and organisational change. We need to know where we are going and what we are aiming for otherwise we probably won’t get there.

  • Coaching also uses a solutions-focused approach to dealing with problems.
  • Coaching is solution-oriented not problem-focused
  • A solution focused approach means that when faced with an issue, it is important to:
  • clarify the goals
  • decide what you want to change
  • see the problem as something you have (not are)
  • focus on times when you have coped or been successful
  • chart your progress towards the solution
  • clarify the central goal or issue
  • look at your strengths and talents

What is the Role of the Coach?

“The Guide on the side, not the Sage on the stage”

It is a kind of journey through the woods, but the coach is not like a tour leader who has necessarily been there before and knows the track well. Instead, it is more akin to a fellow traveller who has never been in those woods, but who is skilled in dealing with the undergrowth and dealing with the elements and finding a way through — sometimes the coach walks in front, sometimes behind and sometimes alongside, but always there.

What is the Coach’s Responsibility?

It is the coach’s responsibility to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what clients / employees want to achieve
  • Encourage client / employee self-discovery
  • Elicit client / employee generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client / employee accountable

How is Coaching Different from Therapy or Counselling?

Coaching is not counselling or therapy, but it does use techniques derived from clinical psychology. The main differences are:

  • Coaching deals with clients who are basically functional, albeit dissatisfied with some aspect of their lives. So people may come to coaching for a variety of reasons, but not necessarily because they have a problem. It may be simply that, like an athlete, they want to improve their performance in a particular area of their life.
  • The emphasis in coaching is less on unraveling the problem and dealing with the past as it is focusing on the present and examining solutions – it is very future-oriented.
  • Coaching does not deal with clinical issues such as depression or high levels of anxiety; for those, you need to see a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.

What are the Pre-requisites for Coaching Success?

Coaching works well when two prime factors are present:

  • the client is motivated to learn, grow and take action
  • there is a gap where he or she is now and where he or she wants to be

These are the critical ingredients for a successful coaching relationship where with support, you can develop the right strategy, implement a plan of action and achieve your goals.

What are the Benefits of Coaching?

Training VS Coaching

“Thirty-one managers underwent a conventional managerial training program which was followed by eight weeks of one-on-one executive coaching. Training increased productivity by 22.4%. The coaching which included: goal setting, collaborative problem solving, practice, feedback, supervisory involvement, evaluation of end-results, and a public presentation, increased productivity by 88.0%, a significantly greater gain compared to training alone”.

(Source: Olivero, G et al., “Executive Training as Transfer of Training Tool: Effects on Productivity in a Public Agency”, Public Personnel Management, 26 (4), 1997, p461-469.)

A Survey of 4000 Corporations

“A survey of more than 4000 corporations revealed that corporate coaching improves the performance of individuals, leads to better client service, raises confidence, improves relationships that work, develops people for the next level and increases goal achievement. These benefits lead to increased profits and competitiveness for the company and better employee retention”.

(Source: “Coaching can be a good thing for organisations and employees alike” Training and Development, February 2000.)

Management Coaching in USA

A survey in the USA found that 90% of American workers who have had on-the-job coaching or mentoring believe it was an effective development tool, yet only 38% of the workforce has ever had a coach or mentor.

The “most useful” factors that managers received in their coaching were the following:

  • Clear, constructive feedback
  • Supportive trusting relationship
  • Information on developing specific skills
  • Information on organisational strategy
  • Specific actionable advice

(Source: Peterson, D et al., Management Coaching at Work: Current Practice in Multinational and Fortune 250 Companies, Personnel Decisions International, 1997)

The Leadership Employment And Direction 2001 Survey (LEAD Survey)

Conducted by Leadership Management Australia (LMA), the LEAD survey is one of the most significant surveys conducted into workplace issues in Australian business. It researched 2,300 business leaders, senior managers, and employees during 2001. Specifically this included: 300 business leaders, 495 senior managers, and 1560 employees.

Some of the Key Findings:
“One of the major trends to emerge this year is the positive role that mentoring/coaching can play in business. Proactive policies and practices that encourage the development of formal and informal mentoring / coaching models will address a number of the concerns we have seen emerge this year. In particular, coaching will help keep older workers engaged, ensure skills are transferred and assist career advancement while strengthening the understanding and respect across all levels within organisations” (Grant Sexton, Managing Director, LEAD Survey).

In relation to Career Development:

Among Senior Managers;

55% had experienced mentoring / coaching in a career development

97% found coaching beneficial

Among Employees;

33% had a mentor / coach in their current work role

91% of those who had received mentoring / coaching found it beneficial

61% of those without a mentor / coach would find having such a coach beneficial

In relation to Executive Coaching:

Among Business Leaders;

19% have an executive coach

95% of those with a coach find having such a coach beneficial

56% of those without coach would find having such a coach beneficial

Among Senior Managers;

10% have an executive coach

88% of those with a coach find having such a coach beneficial

59% of those without a coach would find having such a coach beneficial

Finally, most Business Leaders and Senior management surveyed believed that work pressures for employees will increase in the future.

The key therefore, is to better utilise the available resources in an organisation and improve the harnessing of people’s talents. In this context, coaching can play a much more prominent part in the development of staff and is essential in the developing and retaining the right people.

Most of us believe that we could do better or have potential, but never seem to make it, however, coaching allows you to have a “personal trainer” both for your life and work who acts as a confidential sounding board and keeps you accountable to your goals and your growth.

This can come under Wellbeing Coaching. The main impediments to achieving a state of wellbeing are :

  • Limiting beliefs eg. Im not good enough, I can’ do this, (excuses) etc.
  • Negative emotions – anger, fear, anxiety etc.
  • Lack of purpose – failing to find ones life purpose
  • Living in the past –holding on to things that should be let go off and worried about the future
  • Stress – due to circumstances etc.
  • Lack of motivation – no lust for life
  • Procrastination – stuck in a rut
  • Low self esteem – another limiting belief
  • Health worries/anxieties
  • Harbouring grudges – being judgemental
  • Lack of goals and aspirations and purpose

“Physical complaints are the expression of negative mental patterns, and can be reversed by fundamentally changing those patterns”

Louise L. Hay

Our bodies are very sensitive to our thoughts and feelings. Becoming more fulfilled will improve your health, while feeling average or flat will almost certainly make you ill. ‘Your issues are in your tissues’ – what is in your mind is in your body, and what is in your body is in your mind. As humans, most of our negative thought patterns relate to a fear of not having enough, or a fear of not being enough. To achieve and maintain a state of emotional wellbeing (which will greatly aid our physical wellbeing ) we must monitor our thoughts, emotions, and feelings, making a conscious choice towards optimism and what we want, and away from negativity, and what was past especially at times of adversity and turmoil in our lives. Being in the now is a more conscious choice to the way of living.

As a wellbeing coaches, Coaching can make the difference, that truly makes the difference in people’s lives.