Coaching has been defined in many ways. Neenan and Palmer (2012) define coaching as “a goal-directed activity” where the coach helps a coachee to identify their desired outcome and to facilitate the development of a change process, define specific actions that will move coachee closer to their goal and help them monitor and evaluate progress. Coaching aims to bring the best in people in order to help them facilitate change in their lives and achieved preferred outcome. Building awareness and responsibility is the essence of good coaching (Whitmore, 2009).
Cognitive behavioural coaching can help to overcome practical problems and deal with emotional, psychological and behavioural blocks to performance and goal achievement. Palmer and Szymanska (2008) defined cognitive behavioural coaching or CBC as ‘an integrative approach which combines the use of cognitive, behavioural, imaginal and problem-solving techniques and strategies within a cognitive behavioural framework to enable coaches to achieve their realistic goals.
Association for Coaching (AC) defines coaching as ‘a collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee’.
International Coaching Community (ICC) points out that coaching unlocks a person’s potential and maximises their performance as well as helping people learn rather than teaching them. The essence of coaching can be defined as follows:
- To help a coachee change in the way they wish and helping them go in the direction they want to go.
- Coaching supports a person at every level in becoming who they want to be.
- Coaching builds awareness, empowers choice and leads to change.
Coaching is not consulting or counselling. A coach will not tell you what to do and we don’t dwell on the past either. In coaching, we only look at specific past experience that caused strong emotional response to see what can be learnt from it and what can you do different next time should the same situation occur.
Coaching also works on the premise that you are your own expert and you can handle your own emotions. Coach focuses on helping you discover answers for yourself – this process is also called guided discovery, tap into your inner strengths, design and implement solutions which will work for you.
Here are some key words that would sum up coaching quite nicely:
- Practical – you will learn new practical skills you can use in work settings or day to day life.
- Collaborative – a coach work together with you on your goal.
- Flexible – a coach adopts a flexible approach and structures the session around you and your goals. There is no such thing as ‘one fits all’ approach in coaching.
- Results focused – coaching is focused on finding solutions that will move you closer to your goal.
- Guided discovery – coaching is a conversation that prompts you to find all the answers for yourself.
- Encourages self-insight and personal growth.
- Enabling and empowering – coaching will unshackle your old ways of doing things and thinking. Get ready to come out of your comfort zone.
- Short-term – number of coaching sessions usually vary from 3-6/9 depending on the number of topics and the complexity.
- Based in present and future – coaching is focused on ‘here and now’ and what can we do to make your future brighter and more fulfilling.
Coaching can help you to achieve many wonderful things such as:
- Improve performance
- Prevent stress
- Increase resilience
- Enhance well-being
- Increase self-efficacy
- Boost motivation
- Tackle low-self-esteem
- Develop greater self-acceptance
- Improve work-life balance
- Promote personal growth
- Overcome blocks to change
- Challenge negative self-talk and self-defeating thoughts
- Tackle strong negative emotions
- Overcome perfectionistic tendencies
- Deal with procrastination
- Become more assertive
- Develop communication skills
- Tap into your inner strengths and resources
- Set SMART goals
Mind Tools (2016) remarked coaching focuses on helping the coachee discover answers for themselves, the process can also be called a guided discovery, as people are much more likely to engage with solutions that they have come up with themselves as these solutions feels more authentic rather than the one that are imposed on them. This approach in coaching is described as facilitative.
There are different types of coaching available such as:
- Life / personal coaching is seen as common and acceptable thing nowadays as people are seeking to improve specific areas of their life be it health and wellness, spirituality, personal relationship or finances, etc.
- Business / Corporate – coaching in organisations is becoming more popular as companies realise that they can improve both the performance and motivation of their employees through coaching.
- Executive – companies are also now willing to invest in personal coaching for senior team members and executives. Senior managers lead by example and by creating a positive influence on people who have influence results in improved performance across team and organisation as a whole.
- Excellence such as staying ahead of the game.
- Performance recovery such as problem solving and skills development.
- Specialist or niche such as stress, resilience, health, wellness, confidence, redundancy, transition in life, parent / maternity, spirituality, etc.
The benefits of coaching are also widely acknowledged. According to the International Coach Federation (2009) Global Coaching Client Study, coachees reported improvements in the following areas:
- Self-confidence / self-esteem – 80%
- Relationships – 73%
- Communication skills – 72%
- Interpersonal skills – 71%
- Work performance – 70%
- Work/life balance – 67%
- Wellness – 63%
- Personal organisation – 62%
Professional coaching brings many wonderful benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence. And, the list does not end there. Those who undertake coaching also can expect appreciable improvement in productivity, satisfaction with life and work, and the attainment of relevant goals. Overall coaching can focus on any aspect of a person’s life in assisting personal growth.
If you have any questions or want to talk to me about coaching, please feel free to contact me direct via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0785247434 for no obligations 20 mins chat to see how coaching can help you! Thank you, Anastasia.
International Coaching Community, What is Coaching?, http://www.internationalcoachingcommunity.com/en/what-is-coaching.
International Coach Federation, Benefits of Using a Coach, http://coachfederation.org/need/landing.cfm?ItemNumber=747.
International Coach Federation, (2009), Global coaching cleint stuudy: executive coachig, http://icf.files.cms-plus.com/includes/media/docs/ExecutiveSummary.pdf
Mind Tools, What is Coaching? How to be an Effective Coach?, https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_15.htm.
Neenan, M., and Palmer, S., (2012), Cognitive Behavioural Coaching in Practice. An Evidence Based Approach, East Sussex: Routledge.
Whitmore, J., (2002), Coaching for Performance. GROWing People, Performance and Purpose, Third Edition, London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Palmer, S. and Szymanska, K., (2008), Cognitive behavioural coaching. An integrative approach in Palmer, S. and Whybrow, A., (2008), Handbook of coaching Psychology. A guide for practitioners, London and New York: Routledge.