The Mysterious World of Coaching
If you could do something to be more resourceful, creative and effective when you are operating at the extremes of your expertise and experience you would, right?
If you could work with a professional that could help you reach your full potential in whatever it is you choose to do or whatever you dream of, it would be a no-brainer, right?
These two statements go some way to describe what is possible by working with a coach, but it is surprising that very few people are working with one.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is a process of structured conversations that aims to facilitate change and growth for the client by raising their awareness. It is a space for the client to be creative, a time to think, to re-assess, to plan, to focus on their needs, ambitions and goals.
Coaching is both empowering and in some instances it can lead to transformational changes that have lifelong positive effects for the client.
Coaching works for clients in a number of ways, and in the workplace, there are two common reasons for engaging with a coach;
Striving for peak performance
If the client is highly skilled at what they do and experienced it can help them find marginal gains (the equivalent to “sweating the asset”) and this would be similar to the reasons that sports people have coaches; to go from being good at something to being great.
Accessing your full potential
Clients who are experiencing change either personally (like a promotion) or due to organisational challenges (like a restructure) find themselves working outside of their comfort zone, on the edges of their capabilities. They might be experiencing stress, self-doubt might be creeping in, or they are putting off making decisions for fear of failing or making the wrong decision.
The human mind gets scrambled when we find ourselves in highly stressful situations; clarity of thinking is impaired, and people don’t act in their usual way. Coaching is perfect for helping to increase the client’s awareness about the situation, help them return their thoughts to more logical ones rather than emotional. It is in these challenging times when we need to access our full capability. Ironically the mind’s natural reactions make us have tunnel vision, using past experiences to influence how we react, rather than looking clearly at the current one. Coaching can help the client shift to a place of thinking that is more helpful and effective during change.
Coaching works well for helping people in general life too:
It’s never too late to begin!
Perhaps the client has always dreamed of a different way of life, an alternative career, to start their own business, or relocate somewhere new. Whatever it is that the client dreams of it inevitably comes with worry, anxiety and trepidation, a coach can help a client work through their fears to move closer to what they want. A coach can support the client to plan and assess the best approaches to their new direction and be there as they implement their actions to help them overcome unforeseen obstacles.
Coaching can really help clients who feel lost, clients might have the feeling “is this it?”, perhaps they have experienced unwanted change, periods of stress or anxiety or the need to rebuild an aspect of their life. Periods of high emotions make thinking clearly really tough; we tend to feel like we’ve lost touch with ourselves because we know the behaviours we display aren’t really who we are. A coach can help their client to reconnect with their sense of self, help manage negative thinking and behaviours and help the client refocus on moving forward in their own time.
Why don't more people have a coach?
I have pondered this question, asked friends and other coaches and there are many answers on offer. Some think it’s because coaching is a relatively new profession and therefore general awareness of the benefits has been limited to a few people. Others have commented that "we Brits" don' t like admitting we need help, let alone asking and paying for it. Others have remarked that people place very little worth on themselves and feel uncomfortable and self-indulgent spending money on time that is all about them.
I think some people get coaching confused with counselling, perhaps feel a little shame in admitting they could do with some support, others have just never come across the benefits and therefore don't know what they are missing. Sadly, there are some that have had a bad or “strange” experience with a coach in the past that has put them off.
I'd be really interested in your thoughts about coaching and what you would need to consider before getting one yourself?
If you have already experienced the power of coaching share why you think others should give it a go?
Thanks for reading