What is Coaching?

posted by on February 3rd, 2016

Coaching is an accepted form of personal development. It is a bespoke form of learning and is it becoming more common for business owners to hire a coach in much the same way that they would hire a lawyer or accountant.

Coaching is about enabling individuals to achieve their potential and make changes through a process of enquiry, reflection and action. Coaching can take many forms and whilst both Coaching and Mentoring share some similarities there are a few differences.

Mentors usually have specific first-hand experience of the position that their Mentee holds which is in contrast to Coaches who do not necessarily need be an expert in the field concerned. Coaching tends to be focussed on a specific short term goal e.g. transition into a new role or introducing change – whereas mentoring often takes place in the longer term.

In practice an effective Coach aims to widen the perception of their Coachee by helping them explore their needs, motivations, desire and thinking processes. In terms of skills both Coaches and Mentors use very similar tools and techniques, all of which are aimed at facilitating learning and development within the learner.

As with Mentoring both Coaches and Mentors should be aware of projecting their views and experiences upon others. It is important that there is a distinction made between sharing experiences and offering advice.

A Coach will encourage others to explore problems from a wide range of perspectives before choosing and committing to a goal or course of action.

Coachees are often expected to report back the outcomes of any ‘fieldwork’ and new goals are agreed. This results in a very focussed and dynamic form of development which can be geared around business needs as required.

Coaching styles range from forms which may be almost passive in their delivery to more provocative approaches.