Coaching is a Term Used and Abused!
Why is the term coaching abused
Everyone calls themselves a coach today! There are no barriers to entering this profession. Anyone out of a job or anyone that has taken a two-day workshop can call themselves coaching. My hairdresser, who is a very good hairdresser, now calls herself a coach. I asked her what formed her to be a coach? She answered she coaches people on their hair and the wording attracts new customers. “Ok,” I answered, “coaching is indeed a process, a Socratic questioning style for a behavior change or a desired outcome”. However, a hairdresser is formed to take care of hair or hairdos. The objectives are different and the required expertise is different and the outcome is different.
So how is coaching different?
There is still confusion on what is coaching. It is time that coaching be defined again and differentiated from consulting, psychotherapy and mentoring. So I have set out to write up a series of weekly short blogs on leadership coaching but first, the basic notions of coaching need to be reviewed. I shall start with, “What is Coaching?”, then “How does Coaching Differ from Consulting, Psychotherapy and Mentoring”. “Why should you consider coaching”. “When is Coaching a Bad Idea?” followed by “The Telling and Asking repertoire” and “Coachability: When Coaching is Not the Best Intervention” and more. You will understand the basic concepts of the Coaching Leadership Style and how it is different from other leadership styles. So let us get started:
What is coaching?
Coaching provokes action and movement
The first use of the word “coach” in English occurred in 1500s to refer to a kind of carriage. “The root meaning of the verb “to coach”, is to convey a valued person from where you are to where you want to be”. Coaching infers action and movement.
Coaching creates insights and action learning
Coaching is also a process of self-discovery through a guided discussion with a sparring partner who encourages you to self-reflect to gain insights and learn from your hands-on experience and your actions. The aforementioned is called action learning.
Coaching is action oriented, which means it has a deterministic bias. The assumption is that you can influence your destiny and find your solutions aided by a coach that questions your assumptions to widen your options. Coaching has taken off in Anglo-Saxon cultures also because those cultures have a pragmatic, and deterministic bias compared to some other cultures that might be more fatalistic.
Coaching increases performance by acquiring new competencies
Coaching encourages you to experiment and get out of your comfort zone to stretch and acquire new competencies. Stretching your competencies, in turn, enables you to have a continuous increase in your ability and in your performance.
Tips to coach:
1) Write down one of your objectives? (Write it down in SMART terms. SMART stands for Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.) Start with something simple and straight forward.
2) Write down where you are now with regards to the stated objective.
3) Write down where you want to be in SMART terms.
4) Identify what actions need to be taken to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Once that is identified, find a sparring partner that might suggest you other options that you may have not thought about.
5)Self-reflect how much effort on a scale from 1 to 5 would it take for your to take the first baby step? Ask yourself if it is possible and realistic but a stretch. Would it get you out of your comfort zone?
6) Find someone to hold you accountable for the accomplishment of your objective with the intermittent milestones and that will encourage you on the way.
You are on your way
7) Once you reach your objective. Celebrate!!
After this brief description of what is coaching, next week’s Top Coach Blog part two, will define the difference between coaching and giving advice as a consultant.
For more information, you can check out our leadership coaching programs or talent development programs and access our free podcast on Excellent Executive Coaching and subscribe on iTunes.
I like the precision you’ve given to defining coaching. I’m looking forward to your future columns on distinguishing coaching from other forms of help-oriented intervention.
One place that your comment about the extensive and unfettered use of the term coach and/or coaching can be seen in the exponential explosion of coaching training organizations (http://www.peer.ca/coaching.html). We now list over 600 of these groups worldwide. Many of them have been developed to focus on a particular niche. This is cleverly and satirically detailed on the International Coach Confederation site: (http://coachingcon.org/Instant_Coach.html).
Maybe at some point you’d allow us to include your article in our magazine, the Peer Bulletin?
Thanks for your feedback Rey. Let’s share more ideas next week Tuesday when the next blog comes out on the difference of coaching and giving advice. I would be happy to have your opinion.