I get asked this question a lot and if you type it into Google you won’t be short of answers… There’s lots of different types of coaching and lots of coaches who work in their own individual style but at its simplest level here’s my definition:
COACHING IS A CONVERSATION.
A conversation where the primary focus is to help support the coachee make conscious decisions and take action to enable progress of some sort.
My goal as a life coach is to empower the coachee to make change happen.
I associate coaching with a journey of discovery. The process can provide the coachee with the opportunity to get to know themselves better and gain a deeper understanding of their goals and desires; consequently leading them to explore how they can navigate their way forward and take action in order to make progress in some way.
The process is unique for every person. For example, for some it can lead them to make a revolutionary change which transforms their entire life or a specific area of their life. Others benefit by deciding to make subtle adjustments to enhance their performance, happiness or fulfilment and the like. Others find coaching useful to take stock of their situation and gain personal validation of their intended direction. This validation does not come from the coach approving their decisions but from the coachee having the opportunity to really evaluate their position.
What is hopefully common for all is that it is a positive process which helps them look at the bigger picture, gain clarity and a new perspective at the situation at hand.
In my definition of coaching I use the term ‘conscious decisions’. By this I mean that the coachee takes control by becoming self-aware of their behaviour and feelings as well as mindful of the decisions they are making and why they are making them. Coaching also encourages active thinking – simply put, someone analysing why they are having a particular thought. Then my role as the coach through questioning lets the ideas, solutions and available options primarily come from the coachee.
This leads onto a key element of my coaching definition – it can ‘empower people to make change happen’. This relates to the coachee recognising that they are making decisions that THEY want to make to determine their direction opposed to being swept along with other people’s plans and letting others make decisions for them or making decisions which they feel they should make even if they don’t want to.
In addition, in some situations an important part of the process can be the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. These contribute to the person’s personal development as well as help them make the necessary decisions and/or help them implement the change that they desire.