Coaches work with clients, generally one-on-one, to explore dreams, needs, motivations, desires, skills and/or thought processes. The coaching relationship assists clients in making real, lasting change and achieving goals.
There are many different coaching philosophies and styles. Most maintain complete confidentiality to increase trust and safety for the client. Most coaching uses thought-provoking questioning techniques to creatively encourage a client’s to identify goals, beliefs, solutions and actions. In addition, many coaches use some or all of the following techniques and tools (this list is not comprehensive):
- Goal-setting and methods for assessing progress in relation to these goals
- Observing, listening and being curious in order to understand the client’s situation
- Developing a confidential, trusting relationship for honest reflection
- Gaining clarity and creating intentionality with behaviors and actions
- Encouraging a commitment to action and personal learning and development leading to lasting growth and change
- Maintaining an unconditional positive regard for the client, which means the coach is at all times supportive and nonjudgmental of the client, her/his views, lifestyle and aspirations
- Ensuring clients develop personal competencies and do not develop unhealthy dependencies on the coaching relationship
- Consistently evaluating the coaching process, using objective measures wherever possible, to increase the potential success of the coaching relationship and to ensure the client is achieving her/his personal goals
- Continually encouraging clients to improve their competencies to achieve their goals
- Challenge and support clients to take thoughtful, skills- and/or life-enhancing risks
There are coaches who identify as Executive Coaches, Personal Coaches, Career Coaches, Business Coaches and/or Life Coaches. Some of the executive and business models of coaching come out of management or organizational developmental. They may emphasize improved productivity, team building and other performance goals.
Some of these models are built on the idea of the coach as an expert, relying on the coach’s previous work experience and background.
Some coaching methodologies view the client as the “expert” on their life and circumstances and the coaching relationship as a “tool” in service to the client’s agenda.
In collaborating with a coach, clients can identify:
- Core values and goals
- Motivations or barriers
- Tangible action steps for increasinge their ability to live a more intentional, meaningful life
Coaching is not psychotherapy
Psychotherapy generally deals with problems, bad experiences or feelings with the goal of having the client become emotionally healthy by focusing on the dysfunction. The primary focus is healing.
Coaching’s focus, generally, is identifying and enhancing a person’s individual capabilities; looking at “what now?” and not “why” as in most therapeutic relationships.
Coaching deals with people who feel stuck or have a desire to be more effective or productive and live life more fully. The primary focus of coaching is evolving and manifesting potential. Healing is often a side affect.
Also, in coaching the coach and client are in partnership with the client always in charge and the coaching agenda focused on achieving the results the client wants.
In general, coaching can work for someone interested in learning how to:
- Set and meet goals
- Be intentional with actions
- Take responsibility for behaviors and outcomes
- Face challenges and learn from mistakes