Coaching is “a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be a successful coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place” - Eric Parsole, The Manager as Coach and Mentor (1999)
“Coaching involves expanding people’s capacity to take effective action” – Robert Hargrove, Masterful Coaching
“Coaching is the single most powerful process ever devised for releasing individual human potential.” - London School of Business
“Coaching is the process of equipping people with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need to fully develop themselves, the company, and their work. It is a collaborative relationship focused on enabling an individual to become his or her best self. The coach’s role is to facilitate discovery as well as the professional development of the individual” – Corporate Coach University (CCUI)
“Coaching is an on-going relationship which focuses on you taking action towards the realization of your visions, goals, or desires. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build your level of awareness and responsibility, and provides you with structure, support, and feedback.” – Professional & Personal Coaches Association (Now the ICF)
“Coaching is a powerful alliance designed to forward and enhance the lifelong process of human learning, effectiveness, and fulfilment.” – Coaches Training Institute (CTI)
“Coaching is an on-going partnership that helps clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.” – International Coaches Federation (ICF)
Characteristics of Coaching:
- It is essentially a non-directive form of development.
- It focuses on improving performance and developing individuals’ skills.
- Personal issues may be discussed but the emphasis is on performance at work.
- Coaching activities have both organisational and individual goals.
- It assumes that the individual is psychologically well and does not require a clinical intervention.
- It provides people with feedback on both their strengths and their weaknesses.
- It is a skilled activity which should be delivered by trained people.
Types of Coaching:
- Life Coaching
- Business Coaching
- Personal Coaching
- Health Coaching
- Sports Coaching
- Conflict Coaching
- Transformational Coaching etc.
Business coaching is a collaborative, solution-focused, result-oriented and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of individuals (Antony M Grant, Solution-Focused Coaching).
It is a practice of offering occasional advice to an individual or a group so as to improve the effectiveness of their business by providing positive feedback and support. It is in-fact extraordinary relationship between two or more people who pursue common future or goal.
Business coaching by design is not influenced by the past rather fosters organization to recognize its potential. To overcome breakthroughs in areas where an organisation was previously stuck or experienced unsatisfactory results, business coaching is a handy tool.
It often creates and follow structured, strategic plan to achieve targeted goals thereby helping business flourish. Business owners who may not be able to afford large coaching prices are now-a-days given business coaching by multiple organisations by training professionals to offer business coaching.
Business coaching is a bespoke one to one programme aimed specifically at accelerating the success of the individual and business engaging in the process. It helps to accomplish more in less time thereby promoting business and simultaneously perk up overall life.
Business Coaching helps:
• To set better goals.
• To reach goals faster.
• To make better decisions.
• To improve relationships.
• To deliver higher performance
• To discover potential and achieve it faster
• To focus on what is fundamental and most vital
• To take consistent action towards achieving target
Essential Skills of Coaching:
1. Goal Setting:
One of the most important skills for a coach to possess to elicit well-defined, clear and emotionally engaging goals because coaching is all about attaining goal or solution. Goal setting should be introduced at the right time as determined by the coach and should be smart, measurable, realistic, specific and attractive. Reframing problems as goals is another common habit of a good coach.
It is often referred as “active listening” to emphasise the difference between passively thinking in what the other person is saying and actively engaging with them and showing that you are giving them your undivided attention. This involves putting your own concerns and ideas ‘in a box’ while you listen. Giving your full attention putting everything else aside is a powerful experience partly because it’s so rare.
Empathy develops naturally out of looking and listening. It starts giving you the feeling of other individual emotional state, if you do this attentively. The ability to empathise with the coachee is critical to the coaching process, as it not only helps the coach to accept the other person on their own terms, but also sometimes to tune in to emotions and thoughts of which they are not fully aware.
Questioning is a key that distinguishes coaching from other approaches to communication, management and learning. At the heart of coaching is a willingness to put aside one’s own ideas about the best or obvious or right way to do something, and to ask a question to elicit someone else’s ideas about how to approach it. For coaches, being asked a question can do three very important things:
- Focus attention: Influential and non-directive questions should prompt the coachee to look for a perfect solution.
- Elicit new ideas: An effective coach has an inborn quality to come up with new, different and better ideas.
- Foster commitment: Doing something that you have dreamt of or the one that someone else tells you or suggests you are in no way similar.
5. Giving feedback:
The key to delivering effective coaching feedback is observational and non-judgemental. If you provide clear, specific feedback about the coachee will be perfectly capable of evaluating his performance for himself.
Giving negative feedback is often a delicate process, but the following principles will make it easier and more effective for everyone concerned:
o Make sure you have already given plenty of positive feedback
o Appreciate or at least acknowledge the person – deliver feedback on specific behaviour
o Focus on the future more than the past
o Avoid blame, make requests
Like empathy, this is either an innate ability or it emerges from practising the other coaching skills. Sometimes during a coaching session you can get a sudden thought or feeling about the coachee or the subject under discussion – It’s as if something is prompting you to ask a question or share what you’re thinking or feeling. It doesn’t matter whether you call this a hunch, an intuition, a sixth sense, mirror neurons or your unconscious mind – what does matter is how willing you are to trust his feeling and act on it, in the hope that it might help the coachee.
A coach most important habit is to undergo checking to ensure all goes well. It might seem plodding or mind-numbing or boring relative to the ideas and energy encountered elsewhere in the coaching, but you risk enthusiasm and creativity to go in vain, if you don’t check. Here is a checklist of things typically checked in coaching sessions:
- Checking understanding: It’s ensuring yourself that you get everything that the coach has been deliberating and can be done by summarising answers in your own words as well as asking dumb questions.
- Checking that the client is happy: A verbal agreement is no good unless the person is also enthused or at least congruent in taking action on the goal. It can be done by constantly checking this by looking and listening for nonverbal cues.
- Checking that all the bases have been covered: There are possibility of overlooking some areas while focusing on some areas in depth, so, a coach should avoid this tendency by targeting all the bases.
- Checking whether the coachee has taken action: A coach should be responsible enough to keep an eye on the actions that are committed to be done to ensure that everything goes well.
- Checking whether the goal has been reached: Coaches are sometimes so involved in work that they don’t recognise when they have achieved their set goal. So, a coach can ensure the end of coaching process by asking some probing questions.
Coaching therefore is a focused conversation that facilitates learning and raises performance at work. The purpose of coaching to many organisation is as a style of management that takes place in a series of informal discussions between managers and their staff as they go about their daily business. Conclusively, Coaching is a set for managing employee performance to deliver results.
Antony M Grant, Solution-Focused Coaching
Eric Parsole, The Manager as Coach and Mentor (1999)
Maureen Guirdham, Interactive Behaviour at Work, Prentice Hall
Robert Hargrove, Masterful Coaching