==== ====Questions on coaching? This is a great place to find out more:http://bit.ly/ym3YLX==== ====In my speaking engagements I have often compared coaching today to psychotherapy in the1920s. The level of public understanding of coaching, outside of people in a certain socio-demographic category, is still in its infancy. We are all so saturated with the language ofpsychoanalysis - its difficult to read a book or watch a movie that isnt premised on this sharedlanguage - that we probably dont consider there was once a time when practitioners were asked:"Now, you do what, exactly?""And I would tell you my dream because it would reveal what?""So theres this free association thing, which apparently still costs something, and I give you thefirst thing that comes to mind because there are these subconscious drives I have?"To the not-yet-initiated, coaching can sound like this. What is it and why would I want to do it?Coaching, whether for career or business, existential questions or relationships, begins withalignment.Coaches get you, your actions and thoughts, and your very lifestyle aligned with who you say youare, or want to be.That is, we will get the way you live, think, act, and work integrated with the core values and goalsyou say you have. If you dont know what your ultimate values and goals are, then thatscoachable too.Its not by magic that coaches help clients achieve their goals. From the practical and action-oriented to the great questions, coaches draw from the best of management consulting, bestbusiness practices, motivational and cognitive psychology, sports performance, ethics andspirituality, the Socratic dialogue and philosophy.Most fundamentally, coaches help clients get out of their own way.COACHING BRIEFLY DEFINEDHere is one definition of coaching, per the International Coach Federation:"Professional Coaching is a professional partnership between a qualified coach and an individualor team that supports the achievement of extraordinary results, based on goals set by theindividual or team. Through the process of coaching, individuals focus on the skills and actionsneeded to successfully produce their personally relevant results."
"The individual or team chooses the focus of conversation, while the coach listens and contributesobservations and questions as well as concepts and principles which can assist in generatingpossibilities and identifying actions. . . . Coaching accelerates the individuals or teams progressby providing greater focus and awareness of possibilities leading to more effective choices. . . . .[R]esults are a matter of the individuals or teams intentions, choices and actions, supported bythe coachs efforts and application of coaching skills, approaches and methods."If your definition of a coach is borrowed from high school or college athletics, where the athlete isbeneath the coach and can even be dismissed by him, then the term "coaching" may be a bitmisleading to you. A personal or executive coach is more like the coach of a pro track star ortennis player: in these professional relationships, the coach and the client are two co-equals andpartners, and its actually the client who decides how long the coach stays on the team.THE PROCESSA coach begins, from a place of generosity of will and spirit, by getting to know you as a personand formally identifying your goals and values, using a variety of in-house or standardizedassessments. Then the coach looks at the gap between where you are and where you want to be.A coach will then work with you to close that gap by eradicating your self-limiting thinking, reducingyour stress and enhancing your efficiency, and getting you to stretch and try new things and waysof being. A coach will help you implement strategies to reach your goals, tactical steps to carryout your strategy, and day to day accountability to keep you focused on the tactics, the strategy,the goal -- all while explicitly remaining true to your values.Coaching is at its root about expanding your awareness and making you accountable to yourself.Coaches expand clients awareness about themselves and then help them to be accountable towhat they have learned. It can be a sophisticated form of teaching, mentoring, and partnering inan enterprise with a single focus: your personal, professional, and even spiritual development.Coaches show you ways to find clarity, guide you to awareness of your true situations (includinghow you get in your own way), and show you how to take action based on what you know.To be coached, then, is to get experienced, committed, and insightful help in (1) finding clarityabout subjects big and small, (2) deepening your understanding about what holds you back, and,crucially, (3) being guided toward acting on your knowledge to make desired and lasting change inyour life.WHO GETS COACHED?Coaching clients are clear that they want something -- virtually anything -- sooner and with morecertainty of getting it than they could manage alone. It could be learning, career advancement,satisfaction, higher performance, better relationships, or quality of life. Clients are not attempting,through coaching, to address emotional pain or psychological disorders. This is one of the keydifferences between coaching and counseling. See more athttp://www.ferocecoaching.com/coaching-and-counseling.html.Coachable clients are functioning well and able to take action in the direction of their goals.
Coaches look to the present and the future; they discuss the past primarily in order to clarify wherethe client is today. Critically, coaching need not resolve issues of the past in order to moveforward.THE RELATIONSHIP, IN A NUTSHELLThe coaching relationship is the key to its success. Coach and client are partners. Mutualappreciation and respect are not just a by-product of the time they spend together but the engineof coachings success. A rarity in relationships, coach and client are collaborators in a jointenterprise: the client. At my coaching firm, our philosophy is that clients already have many of theanswers within them, and to the extent thats the case, its the coachs job to draw them out.Coaches dont often hold themselves out as expert or authority on subject matter so much as onprocess. The client and her coach jointly choose the topics of their work together, the format, andthe outcomes the client desires. Coaches are for the emotionally mature. Those who imaginethat a coach can turn their lives around are not yet coachable under most coaches ethics. Acoach is someone you retain only when you are ready. To take with you that next, elusive step.FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS, NOT SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISEThere is rarely such a thing as a "type" or "field" of coaching, wherein life coaches could beconsidered somehow different from relationship coaches.The reason there is usually no difference between, say, life or personal coaching on the one handand executivecoaching on the other, is that these titles describe only the client, not the coaching itself. That is,the words describe the buyer of the services and perhaps even how that client perceives himself.But the techniques and methods of coaching are very similar, because all coaching comes downto the process of guiding human beings through the discovery of their full humanity, their insight,and greater accountability to themselves. Even if you are an executive who wants "executive"coaching, you know there is no such thing as skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are used in, anduseful in, only the boardroom or office. You are on a mission to enhance your effectivepersonhood, not your, shall we say, executiveness.What is the consequence of coaching being the same no matter who the client is? Well, it meansthat subject matter expertise is often irrelevant. To be a career coach, it may help to have someknowledge of career resources, of course. The same is true for specialty aspects of businesscoaching, entrepreneurship coaching, or leadership coaching. But in general, you should opt for acoach with superb coaching skills and chemistry over a coach with subject matter expertise.Cameron Powell, a writer and coach, is also a professional ally and strategic partner who, as a lifecoach, when his clients most need it, will kick their butts into action now and then. To learn moreabout how he gets people unstuck and moving forward in their lives and careers as a Life Coach,visit his site.
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