You have probably heard about sports coaches, but some professional coaches focus on other areas of life, business, or career. International Coaching Federation shows you that coaching is a worldwide movement. You can find the presence of this profession in countries around the world. It is estimated that there are 71,000 professional coaches in business right now (26,700 in Europe, 23,300 in North America, 21,000 in the rest of the world). Coaching works everywhere and for everyone.
One of the most potent ways how to grow is by coaching. The key to coaching is to find your own solutions deep within. A coach doesn’t tell you what to do. They are just a guide, a sounding board, a trusted partner who will guide you on your journey to figure out what to do. At the heart of coaching is the idea that people have the resources to help themselves. All that is needed is a trigger to unlock their hidden power.
Let me describe the fundamental concepts of coaching and what you can expect from a coaching session. Let’s start with the principles and beliefs on which coaching is based.
People mean well – one of the fundamental beliefs of coaching is the idea that deep down, people work to the best of their abilities, and no one does anything bad on purpose. You should never try to judge those around you, and you should also never try to read between the lines that may not even be there.
Context – every behavior is correct or has some value in certain situations, so always understand the context. The concept of context is crucial as you are growing and moving through your life. The context keeps changing, and you need to realize that some things that may have worked for you in the past may not necessarily work within the new setting.
No assumptions – extension of the previous two points is an aspect of “every behavior has a positive motivation.” Even if you don’t see it now, you should believe that it is the case. A coach can help you remove any wrong assumptions you may have made in your mind and get back to the facts.
Resources – people have all the resources they need. Not only do people have all the resources, but they also have most of the answers. When you work with a coach, you shouldn’t expect to get the answers from them. All you get are questions. It will be up to you to find the answers within you.
Coaching is not the right tool for technical subjects or anything where you are required to learn. Go to training instead. Coaching will help you when you want to make adjustments to the behavior or figure out what to do.
The best coaching session is the one where, in the end, you get up with a clear mind and objectives that you own because they came from your heart.
To illustrate, let me share a couple of coaching questions that are always a great first move. They are meant to stimulate conversation, so don’t expect the coach to let you get away with one-word answers. My coaching sessions usually follow a simple pattern that is guided by four key questions:
What do you want? – before you start working on something, you need to understand what you want to get at the end. Coaching only works on you are willing to learn and give the necessary effort. If you don’t care, don’t waste your time. You will not get better, and you will end up frustrated.
How will you get it? – since we know what you want, we can start talking about how you get it. The goal of these questions is to identify what resources you need and how to get you started.
How will you commit? – now comes the hard part. Especially for long-term goals, the challenge you will face is not about getting started but how to keep going.
How do you recognize you succeeded? – and the best at the end. If you set a goal, you also need to measure that you reached the goal. Aside from the fact that you might be curious, you also want to feel good about finishing your goals, and how can you feel good about finishing when you don’t know you finished?
That’s it. Pretty straightforward. Most of the difficulties will be at the very beginning trying to define what you want and then how you would commit and what changes you need to make in your life to succeed.