What is coaching and how is it conducted?

What is coaching?

As a certified Executive Coach, I often get asked about coaching. “What exactly is coaching and what does it involve?” You may have read various definitions and/or heard of different types of coaching. Rather than providing clarity, perhaps these descriptions leave you feeling even more confused. The term “coaching” itself is having a moment and trending, both in social media and professional workplaces alike. Allow me to help clear a few things up for you.

Coaching is the process of enabling the coachee to review present situations, determine future aspirations and develop a measurable and precise action plan on how to achieve desired outcomes. Put simply, coaching is a conversation with a purpose. While the coach may facilitate and guide the process, the process is coachee lead. It is up to them to determine the direction, focus and outcome of the process while being supported and held accountable by the coach. A good coach does not direct, command, instruct, or provide judgement. A good coach listens, reflects what they are hearing and enables the coachee to navigate options and future pathways.

The coaching process

Processes can vary but typically involve an initial exploratory discussion between the coach (that would be me) and the coachee (you). In this first chemistry meeting the coach and coachee will explore what they would like to achieve and how they would like to work together.  The process might involve a series of “sessions” at determined interviews with a specific outcome in mind. The process will involve exploring any barriers the coachee might foresee and what support and or resources they may require.  Coaching is a very different discipline to training (instruction based), counselling (therapy-based ) and mentoring (expert/ junior relationship). The coach and coachee’s relationship is an equal one. There is no expert. The process is future focus and goal oriented. In other words, I’m a lot less scary than your therapist. Having said that, I am not tossing my qualifications as a Cambridge University certified coach out of the window. My training has given me tools to tap into the art of facilitating honest discussions, in a safe environment where confidentiality remains of utmost importance.

Different types of coaching

There are many different types of coaching. You may have heard of Life Coaching which typically has an emphasis on the enhancement of personal fulfilment at its core. Business Coaching tends to involve business leaders with a focus on business outcomes while Executive Coaching tends to focus on executive outcomes like leadership for example.

All forms of coaching involve awareness raising and the pursuit of a desired outcome. Coaching is a human interaction, and it is worth assessing the chemistry between coach and coachee before committing to a longer-term working relationship. As in life, different people have different styles, expertise, and knowledge and not all styles will suit everybody.

In my coaching practice, I have coached mostly business and professional leaders, I have a pragmatic, solution focused and positive style. The magic of coaching for me, is enabling the facilitation of self-learning and self-realisation. By being a guide, I support, challenge and direction the coachee. They are then able to achieve desired outcomes and exceed their own expectations. What could be more rewarding that that!

Tips from a coach

An acquaintance of mine used to say that if you threw a rock in any direction, it would probably land at a coach’s office. (I had an inkling she wasn’t talking about tennis).

The fact that you are reading this indicates that you are keen, in stepping up your game. At the very least, the seed of curiosity has been planted. Coaching yields lasting, organic results when the coachee is ready. When the student is ready, the teacher will come. Feel free to reach out when you are ready, I look forward to hearing from you.

Need help with executive coaching?

We can help! Send your questions for Sarah Wiles via our contact page. HR can be painful. We do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on running the show. Get help now. Contact us today.