Over the past few years there has been an explosion in the level of interest in coaching, both in the personal sphere and the business world. In addition to the fact that many people associate the word “coaching” solely with sports, there is lack of clarity surrounding the definition and application of coaching.
There continues to be many questions regarding the differences between coaching and other “helping professions”, particularly therapy and mentoring. Whereas therapy focuses on personal and emotional healing, and mentoring works in the context of a novice/expert relationship, coaching facilitates transformational life experiences in a completely different manner.
Coaching assumes that the client is whole and resourceful, and is not “broken” or in need of “fixing”. A coach is not in a position of authority, nor regarded as an expert in the client’s particular field. The hallmark sign of a true coaching relationship is one where the coach and the client embark on a relationship as equal partners.
Clients come to coaching with a desire to improve some aspect of their lives or work. Some come with a need for more of something (success, freedom, happiness), or less of something (frustration, anxiety, conflict). Before any real coaching can begin, it is imperative for both coach and client to establish a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. This relationship is integral to the process.
The coach interacts with the client from a place of curiosity about their wants and needs. A meaningful coaching relationship is one where the coach believes in the client’s potential to generate possibilities for their future. Through a series of powerful questions, the coach and client can assess the current reality of the situation, and any underlying beliefs and assumptions. They can brainstorm ideas for change, and then plan and implement a course of action.