I’ve searched all over the internet to find a simple answer to what should be a simple question, but I have yet to find one that really sums it all up. So here’s my take on the subject.
Coaching is a special conversation, it gives clients the opportunity to think what they have not thought, say what they have not said, dream what they have not dreamt and create what they have not created. Giving them the ability to maximise their professional and personal results.
The science behind coaching.
The brain can and does create new neural networks and pathways all the time, pruning ones that are no longer useful and strengthening ones that are often used.
By changing our thinking, we can change the neural pathways in the brain, creating new ways of seeing and interacting with the world.
As coaches, we use tools and techniques that promote neuroplasticity. By thinking about our thinking (also called metacognition) we can create new feedback loops for deeply ingrained beliefs that trigger responses, which trigger feelings that lead into action or avoidance.
When clients tend to a way of thinking during the coaching process and choose new behaviours and practices often enough, new neural networks are formed, the landscape of the brain is changed, and once difficult practices now become easy habits.
Coaching is not telling people what to do,
but giving them a chance to examine what they are doing.
Research into positive psychology, including emotional intelligence, and how the brain works have given us great insights into the ways we can support a human being to grow, to realise their potential and to create positive outcomes in their own lives. We now understand that by increasing our emotional awareness, deepening our thinking about our own thinking and focusing on what is serving us well by, utilising our strengths and interests, we can influence and even choose a better future.
From this research, coaches have a strong base to support their clients to heighten their awareness of themselves.
Observing or noticing the way the client thinks; their habits; their emotional responses (or lack of); acknowledging the clients’ own strengths and interests; and the dispositions they are applying to their lives that are serving them well; and those that are not serving them currently.
The quieter you become,
the more you can hear.
The “Right” Coach.
Human beings cannot resist the temptation to express their personality and reveal themselves. The coaching conversation gives them the freedom and the opportunity to do so.
Having the right coach in your corner is integral to the success of coaching. It allows you to see another perspective, be challenged in a powerful way, and ensure that growth occurs. A good coach doesn’t let you off the hook, they will hold you accountable to be the best version of yourself and believe in your potential.
The coaches’ role is to heighten the awareness of the client, getting them to formulate their own goals and actions, not trying to resolve their problem for them.
Coaching is an intentional conversation, a journey that should result in something meaningful for the person being coached. The coach has a significant impact on the results, getting the right coach is key in order to get the biggest return on investment.
The key to coaching is partnership, and the secret ingredient to partnership is belief.
The coaching process.
Although there are almost as many models of coaching as there are coaches, there are four stages that easily communicate the process:
1. Awareness. Coaching challenges the way we think about our thinking so that we can question our conscious and unconscious ways of being.
2. Clarity. Through coaching, we are able to name and define a real issue by focusing on one piece at a time and separating the facts from feelings.
3. Choice. Fearlessly, and without boundaries, coaching allows us to limit our beliefs and explore possibilities for change.
4. Action. We can commit to an energising plan or practice to rewire our way of thinking and behaving that supports our desired way of being.
While many people are able to clearly articulate what they do not want, it takes some effort to be clear about what they want. The ultimate goal of coaching is supporting people in moving forward, to realise their desired outcome – what they really want.
The coach is the expert in the process,
the client is the expert in the content.
The benefits of coaching.
The benefits of coaching are wide-ranging and can also positively impact an individual’s career if they are engaging with their coach. This process can help further develop individuals and can even benefit them on a personal level. Coaching has been known to boost confidence, improve work performance, and build effective communication skills.
- Thought provoking and increasing awareness –Through the use of powerful questions designed to gain clarity and understanding, challenge limiting beliefs, and inspire new insights, coaches are able to elicit reflective thinking and self-awareness, a key aspect of emotional intelligence, in their clients.
- A safe place to gain perspective – Having a coach gives the individual a safe space to go and talk through sensitive issues, without feeling held back or intimidated by someone in their own organisation.
- Increased engagement – When an individual becomes engaged with their workplace, they can contribute more effectively to the team and the organisation. This engagement also helps to increase retention rates and productivity, benefitting their careers as well as their overall organisation.
- Empowering clients –Because the coaching process is client-centred and driven by the clients, they are in the driver seat and are empowered to visualise, create, and choose the route to get to the destination of their choice.
- Deeper level learning – Through coaching, an individual can learn more about themselves.
- Present- and future-focused – Coaching, unlike therapy, is not concerned with something that has happened in the past to cause the client to act in a certain way. Instead, coaching operates on a clean slate, removing the focus on negative emotions or past experiences. It helps clients believe that anything is possible.
- Holding clients accountable –A key benefit of coaching is the ability for coaches to hold clients accountable in achieving their goals.
- Celebrating the wins – A coach is an enthusiastic ‘cheerleader’, supporting clients throughout their journey, helping them celebrate the small wins. This helps keep clients motivated and empowered to complete their goals.
The power of coaching.
Like any new endeavour, working with a coach can be challenging and even a little scary. But if you’re brave, committed and curious, you’ll find your coaching relationship can be a powerful catalyst to becoming the person you most want to be.
Coaching is a journey, not a destination.
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