Lighting your leadership pathway


What is personal coaching?
Coaching is a form of learning, where a person – a coach – supports someone else a coachee (or client) – to create learning and self-development in a way that benefits them.
From early forms of transportation (stagecoach or rail coach) the word “coaching” literally means to transport someone from one place to another. One thing that all forms of coaching seem to have in common is that people are using it to help them move forward in a certain direction. One simple example is probably that of a sports coach. Here, the coach supports the individual to improve their performance and get better results – depending on what they want to achieve. For a golfer, the goal might be winning a major tournament, or simply improving their grip. In this example, the role of the coach is to apply specific principles of success, in a way that creates experiential learning and improvement for the golfer.
Coaching (sometimes referred to as ‘life coaching’) is normally a conversation, or a series of conversations, one person has with another. The coach intends to produce a conversation that will benefit the other person the coachee, in a way that relates to the coachee’s learning and progress.

Why do people have coaching?
People enlist the services of a coach because they want to improve their situations, improve performance and achieve goals. They want to learn new ways of thinking and approaching situations, in order to get better results. Typical goals might be - being more organised and effective at work, gaining confidence in certain situations, or simply relating to other people more effectively. A skilled coach uses a combination of observation, questioning, listening and feedback to create a conversation rich in insight and learning.
For the coachee, they will experience a focus and attention that enable them to develop a greater awareness and appreciation of their own circumstances. In addition, they will also create new ways to resolve issues, produce better results and generally achieve their goals more easily.
Common benefits people experience from coaching include:

  • Improved sense of direction and focus
  • Increased knowledge of self/self-awareness
  • Improved ability to relate to and influence others
  • Increased motivation
  • Improved personal effectiveness e.g. focused effort
  • Increased resourcefulness/resilience e.g. ability to handle change.

What you can expect from your coach.
The role of coach provides a kind of support distinct from any other. Your coach will focus
solely on your situations with the kind of attention and commitment that you rarely experience elsewhere. Your coach will listen to you, with a genuine curiosity to understand who you are, what you think and generally how you experience the world. Your coach will reflect back to you, with the kind of objective assessment that creates real clarity. During conversations, your coach will encourage you to rise to challenges, overcome obstacles and get into action.

Coaching is none of the following:
- Structured training e.g. classroom learning
- Therapy, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy or counselling in any form
- A way of someone else solving your problems for you
- Mentoring or consultancy
A coaching relationship is like no other, simply because of its combination of objective detachment and commitment to the goals of the individual. Because the relationship is based on trust and openness, the contents of your discussions will be confidential. Where a third party has requested the coaching for you, we will agree with you the best way to keep them involved or updated.

What your coach will expect from you.
In return, your coach will encourage you to stay committed to the coaching process. This means showing up and being on time for sessions, taking your own notes where appropriate, and keeping any agreements you make during the sessions.
In addition, your coach needs you to be open to the potential of coaching. That means contributing to conversations honestly and openly. For example, if something is not working, your coach needs to know. If you have concerns or problems, voice them. If you know why a problem is occurring, say so. The strength and power of coaching relates strongly to the level of openness and trust between the coach and the coachee.

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Ref. Julie Starr - The Coaching Manual