Every sports team has a coach. The performance of a team can be increased multi-fold by the presence of a competent and capable coach. We are all aware of the importance of the role of a coach in any athlete’s life. Right from identifying the skills to nurturing them and ensuring the right performance from the player, a coach does it all.
When we talk about a coach we all imagine a no-nonsense person, who can be a taskmaster and a shoulder to lean on. A person who can pull you up for not doing your best, and can motivate you to do your best. A coach is someone who listens, understands, and helps you in being your best self.
The art of coaching has been around for many years and the scope of coaching has expanded beyond tutoring and instructing.
Today, we find coaches in various fields and they are known as life coach, business coach, leadership coach, career coach, health or fitness coach, relationship coach, etc., depending on the area in which the coach specializes.
With tried and tested tools and methodologies, these coaches help individuals in achieving their life goals.
The art of coaching is about being there for the person, understanding what he or she wants, and then helping him or her find the way.
The art of coaching is more about helping the person maneuver the steering rather than maneuvering it for them.
The art of coaching is about helping the person at behavioral, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social levels to help them achieve their goals in life.
The coach need not necessarily be someone who knows it all. It is more important for the coach to be a patient, empathetic human being who can help a person figure out things by themselves. By listening, asking questions, and by being present for a person, the coach guides him into finding the solutions to his problems and achieving greater results.
The art of coaching is helping a person shift his perspective to achieve the desired result.
This is done by using targeted tools. Asking a lot of right questions, restating the person’s answers, helping him hear himself out, and so on, are examples of methodologies used by coaches.
Even though there are a lot of certified coaches helping thousands of people every day, all of us can use these simple tools of listening, asking questions, motivating, and being nonjudgemental to help each other in leading a better life. We can all be coaches to one another and help each other.
Definition Of Coaching
Coaching is defined as a form of development where a more experienced and learned person supports another person, the learner, in achieving professional and personal goals by giving guidance and training in the different areas as and when required.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as somewhat being in partnership with clients that inspires them with a creative process thereby maximizing their professional and personal potential.
International Coaching Federation is the leading organization that is working towards advancing the coaching profession. They set standards and provide independent certification. They are building a worldwide network of trained professional coaches.
The definition and scope of coaching include discussions for improvement in all aspects of life, personal and professional.
Hence a senior manager listening to his junior’s career plans and motivating him to make the right moves at the right time can be part of coaching.
An entrepreneur talking to his or her successor about how he or she achieved personal and business goals can be coaching.
A stay-at-home mom talking to a professional coach about how she could start a side hustle that can later become a full-fledged business is also part of coaching.
Organizations are now talking about building a coaching culture where employees at all levels in the organization can benefit from having coaches to help them grow both personally and professionally and in turn benefit the organization. This helps the organization in managing change, identifying leaders, and increasing employee engagement.
Coaching has always been an integral part of our society since time immemorial. People who listen to youngsters, encourage them to take up responsibilities, and provide them with the help required to stand on their own feet are all coaches. We have all seen people assuming the roles of coaches in our neighborhood and our communities.
Synonyms For Coaching
Synonyms of coaching includes:
conditioning, cultivation, preparation, readying, education, instruction, schooling, teaching, training, tuition, tutelage, tutoring, development, direction, guidance, nurturance, nurturing edification, enlightenment, improvement, didactics, pedagogics, pedagogy. higher education, higher learning, counseling, guiding, leading, mentoring, piloting, shepherding, showing, godfathering, directing, engineering, steering, swaying, accompanying, attending, chaperoning, convoying, escorting, overseeing, superintending, supervising, drilling, briefing, informing, instructing, schooling, inculcating, indoctrinating, cultivating, fostering. gauffer, priming, wagoning, carting, charioting, orientation, practice session, accompaniment, lecturing, readying, sharpening, flanking, assistance, trucking, accompanying, one to one lessons, curation, retaining, follow up, involve, outline, guardianship teaching, grooming, posturing, railing, be their guardian, supporting, donning, reviewing.
Types Of Coaching
Coaching can be broadly classified as personal and professional coaching.
Coaching can be a very formal and structured conversation or an informal and broadly structured talk depending on the coaching style of the coach.
It can be one that links personal and professional goals to numbers and matrices or one that takes a more spiritual approach to achievements in terms of satisfaction, happiness levels, giving back to society, upliftment of the spirit, etc.
Coaching can be done on a one-on-one basis or as a group coaching event. Both have many advantages and people benefit from them immensely.
A life coach helps people attain fulfillment in life. This is done by clarifying goals, identifying issues, and helping in solving those issues that make the attainment of goals difficult.
This is done primarily by a one-on-one coaching session since the goals and obstacles are different for different people. The goals can be concerning relationships, health, and wellness, personal finances, habits, and behaviors, etc.
Life coaches are not therapists and they do not deal with mental issues that require medical intervention.
Life coaching is a process where a professionally trained coach helps the coachee in living his life in the best possible way. This could involve fulfilling personal and professional goals.
By talking to the coach and answering the questions posed by the coach, the coachee draws up an action plan for the goals he wants to achieve in his life.
The goals pertinent to his work and career, health and wellness, family and relationships, all of them get addressed. It helps a person live his day-to-day life with purpose and clarity.
Life coaching sessions are more like a journey of self-discovery where the coachee identifies the factors that hold him back and addresses them in order to move forward in life.
However, it is important to note that life coaching is not a therapy session. Those who need medical intervention to overcome their situation are advised to meet up with a therapist.
Life coaching is for those who can by answering some questions, posed by the coach, understand themselves better.
During times of change, uncertainty, or even when a person feels stuck in the same place not knowing how to get out, life coaching sessions provide the required strength and clarity for the individual to embrace the change and understand one’s own inner qualities.
The feeling of empowerment that comes with sessions of life coaching helps the individual face life with confidence.
A career coach helps an individual in making the right career choices by helping him or her identify the skills and matching them up with the requirements of various career choices.
These coaches help in mapping the person’s skills and ambitions with the requirements of a career choice.
Making a career choice at any stage in life is a difficult one to do. It could be right after graduation, while making a shift in the line of work after a while, or making a comeback to work after a break.
At each of these stages in life, it is important to make an informed and well thought out decision.
The pros and cons of each choice, whether it is in line with one’s purpose and goal in life, etc., have to be well thought out.
It would be so wonderful to have a person to talk to about all of this and who with his expertise and techniques could help the person make the right choice. This is exactly what career coaching does.
Through career coaching, an individual gains the confidence and insight to make and continue a new career choice.
This could also help an individual look at his current career with new insights to commit to it with new-found inspiration. The coaching sessions help individuals get over the feeling of being stuck.
Career coaching helps people deal with issues like fear of asking for help at work, networking, being assertive to get work done, etc. These fears can hold a person back from making the right career choices.
Career coaching is as much about sticking to the job if that is where the individual wants to be, as it is about making a change in career paths.
It is about understanding the right fit for the individual and embarking on that path.
When a person takes up a role of a leader in business or in his community, he or she could use the help of a leadership coach in understanding the demands of a leader and fitting into that role.
Learning and managing team dynamics, understanding, and coaching the team members, along with ensuring productivity and attaining targets can be a daunting task for a new leader without proper guidance and coaching.
Effective and empowering leadership is the key to the success of any organization. Hence, most organizations spend a considerable amount of money on training, mentoring, empowering, and, coaching their leaders.
The process of identifying the next level leaders in the organization structure is a very important role of the management and that decides the future of the organization itself.
Leadership coaching is the process of coaching the leaders to become more effective leaders or coaching a person who is currently not a leader to become a leader.
Unlike in olden times, today a leader is someone who can lead a group of people towards a common vision and can effectively get tasks performed.
Leadership coaching hence involves working on a whole gamut of leadership functions like delegation, supervision, communication, connection, team dynamics, empathy, etc.
Leadership coaching is therefore enabling the leader to take care of the development of all those whom he is leading, and of himself while being in line with the expectations that he has to live up to. It is a tailor-made coaching session that enables the leader to take care of his growth and that of his team members.
Leaders themselves may have to be trained, to be coaches or mentors to their team members, as and when appropriate. So a leader who is also a coach adds a lot of value to the team that he is leading and to the organization of which he is a part.
A business coach helps an individual attain his business goals. This can involve helping and handholding in strategizing and executing.
The coach acts as a sounding board for ideas, plans, and strategies that the coachee has. He further helps in implementing those plans and producing the desired results.
Business coaching is a process where an experienced and, preferably certified, the business coach works with a person to increase business growth. The person receiving the coaching can be a business owner, an entrepreneur, or any other professional.
The process of business coaching helps the person or the coachee improve the business strategy, increase the business revenue, and accelerate the overall growth of the business.
The business coaches conduct one on one sessions with the coachee’ or the client to discuss the business goals, strategies, revenue, processes, and so on.
The business coach gives regular feedback to the client and encourages him or her to do their best. By acting as a sounding board to ideas and strategies, the business coach helps the client or the coachee to reassess and reevaluate his or her own decisions time and again if they are not meeting the desired results.
By directing the coachee’ in the right direction, by helping him understand his strength, by working with him around his areas of weakness, and by helping him grow as an individual, the business coach helps the business attain its goals. The business coach does all of this by asking the client the right questions and helping him find the answers to those questions.
For people who are running businesses as its founders or top executives, there is constant pressure for doing their best and delivering results every single time. With a business coach to discuss and get non-judgemental feedback from, they can take their businesses to greater heights.
In any organization, employees are hired to perform certain tasks. The task they perform is directly linked to their remuneration. Tasks that require precision, or strategic thinking, or those that bring in revenue to the organization, etc., are remunerated more than those that are more mechanical or mundane.
No matter what the task is, a person who can perform it better than others gets paid better than others. Hence improving performance to do a task better or faster than others around, or than how a person used to do it earlier, is a continuous and ongoing effort by every individual.
Performance coaching is the process of enabling a person to identify ways to improve his performance.
Performance can be improved by evaluating how the task was performed, changing strategies, undergoing training, etc.
There could be other unidentified factors that affect the performance of an individual. During the process of coaching, by talking to the coach and answering the questions put forward by the coach, the person identifies these factors and addresses them.
Enhanced performance by the individual no matter what the task performed is becomes a boon to the organization.
Performance coaching increases the performance and hence the self-esteem of the individual.
This has an impact on his professional and personal life. By asking, discussing, and supporting the coachee, the coach empowers him and leads him to a path of continuous growth.
Since a strategy is a plan of action for implementing a decision or for achieving a goal, strategy coaching is a type of coaching that enables and empowers a person to come up with that plan of action. This is done by a coach who has experience in helping people with implementation and getting things done.
During strategy coaching, the coach also equips the coachee to be prepared for changes and quick decision making. No strategies are written in stone and they are subject to change and alterations depending on the circumstances, the feedback about the strategy, etc. The aim of a strategy is nothing but the overall growth of the organization.
Strategy coaching is used by business owners, entrepreneurs (big and small), or even those who want to achieve success in their personal goals. The coach by engaging the coachee in discussions and constant brainstorming sessions helps in coming up with a plan of action that is practical and achievable.
Strategy coaching ensures the smartness of the objectives. Smart objectives are easier to be broken down into strategies or plans. By ensuring that the objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time oriented, the coach can guide the coachee into making those plans required to meet these objectives.
Exercise, fitness, healthy living, etc., have gained a lot of importance in the near past. People want to feel good about their bodies and appearance. Today, more than ever, fitness and healthy living have become a goal for every single person. People find various ways to stay healthier and happier.
The new mantra is to invest time and money in maintaining health rather than in paying medical bills.
Exercise coaching is a part of the health and wellness industry and these coaches help and support people in achieving their health goals.
There are numerous ways to attain and maintain a healthy weight, build muscle strength and stamina, and build a good immune system. By becoming aware of these ways and by practicing them, a person can embark on a lifelong journey of health and wellness.
An exercise coach customizes workout programs for the client, based on his or her fitness level, fitness goal, and other health conditions.
Rather than being a part of a group of people doing what everyone else does, a lot of people now like the approach of these customized workout routines. The coach also ensures that the client is following these routines by constantly following up on them and talking to them if they are finding it difficult to keep up.
If the exercise coach is certified in nutritional requirements also, he includes the dietary requirements of the person to meet those fitness goals. Else, he directs the client to the right place for getting nutritional requirements worked upon. For a fit body and a happy mind, exercise and food play an important role.
Coaching can thus help an individual in various aspects of his or her life and make life more fruitful and fulfilling. There is no harm in taking advice and help from people who are trained and skilled to do so and that is exactly for which a coach trains himself or herself.
Tools For Coaching
Certified and experienced coaches use various tools to gather information from the client and to help the clients understand their own goals and ambitions better. These tools could be in the form of questionnaires, worksheets, and other data gathering methodologies.
Along with the information collected using the tools, the coach has to listen carefully and mindfully to understand and assess the client’s requirements. Each individual is different and his or her coaching requirements are also different. Hence mindful listening is a very powerful tool in coaching.
Asking the right questions in order to dig deep into the hurdles or obstacles that the client is facing is another important aspect of coaching. These questions should help the person being coached take a look at the problem from a different perspective and thus come up with solutions.
Once the solutions are ready, it is all about going all out in implementing the solutions and taking the necessary steps in meeting the goals. The coach provides tools and techniques to help the person get through this phase by making him or her accountable for the success of the implementation.
Every individual knows deep within what he or she wants to achieve in life. The secret for achieving that goal is also known to the person.
Sometimes, it takes the right probing and brainstorming for that hidden wisdom from within to come out. This enlightenment can sometimes happen by itself or with the help of people who are trained to do so.
A good coach does exactly that. He or she helps an individual in identifying and recognizing one’s self-worth and in attaining the success that is due to that individual.
Contributors: Kazim Abasali & Deepa Kadavakat