Coaching as a practice is very young and is made up of practitioners from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds, from business consulting, Human Relations (HR) and Organizational Development (OD), and training, to sports, education, and philosophy, to any number of psychological disciplines such as industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, and social psychology.

Given the varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives coaches bring, it is not surprising to see a lack of consensus about definitions, methods, and techniques. There are perhaps as many different definitions of coaching as there are coaches practicing the art. This speaks to the variety and diversity of perspectives pertaining to coaching.

When coaching takes place, the coach…

  • Transports a valued person from where they are to where they want to be.
  • Realistically helps the person manage his or her acquisition or improvement of skills. The coach can be either ‘directive or non-directive.
  • Is a trusted role model, adviser, wise person, friend, steward, or guide – who works with emerging human and organizational forces to tap new energy and purpose, to shape new visions and plans, and to generate desired results.
  • Is someone trained and devoted to guiding others into increased competence, commitment and confidence.
  • Adopts a collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process to enhancement the person’s life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth and performance.
  • Brings the person through a process of equipping him or her with the tools, knowledge and opportunities he or she needs, to develop himself or herself and become more effective.
  • Facilitates the learning and development of the person with the purpose of improving his or her performance and enhancing effective action, goals achievement, and personal satisfaction.

Coaching is one-on-one, relationship based, methodology based, provided by our professional coaches, scheduled in multiple sessions over time. It is goal-oriented for both the individual and the coach. It is customized to the person, and intended to enhance the person’s ability to learn and develop independently.

Coaching is a change process that mobilizes the strengths and realizes the potential of an individual or an organization. It aims to unlock a person’s potential and maximize his or her own performance. It is to help him or her learn rather than teaching; it is to help him or her discover his or her resources and how it can foster a process where he or she finds his or her their own solutions.

The Benefits of Coaching

The personal benefits of coaching are as wide-ranging as the individuals involved. Numerous clients report that coaching positively impacted their careers as well as their lives by helping them to:

  1. Establish and take action towards achieving goals
  2. Become more self-reliant
  3. Gain more job and life satisfaction
  4. Contribute more effectively to the family, teams and the organization
  5. Take greater responsibility and accountability for actions and commitments
  6. Work more easily and productively with others (boss, direct reports, peers)
  7. Communicate more effectively

Coaching in organization and leadership settings is also an invaluable tool for developing people across a wide range of needs. The benefits of coaching are many; 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, and over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills. 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment on coaching and more.

Coaching provides an invaluable space for personal development. For example, managers are frequently presented with employees struggling with low confidence. The traditional approach would be to send them to an assertiveness course and hope this addresses the issue. In the short-term, the employee learns new strategies for communicating which may improve confidence. Unfortunately, in isolation these courses rarely produce a sustained increase in confidence. Although external behavior may change; it needs to be supported by changes in their internal thought processes. This is often where coaching is most effective.

Managers should not underestimate the impact of coaching on their people as it frequently creates a fundamental shift in their approach to their work. For example, increased self-confidence enables employees to bring more of themselves into the workplace. This results in employees being more resilient and assertive.

[Information taken and adapted from the Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Coaches from Nigel Psychology are not only trained in Psychology, they are also members of IOC.]

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