What Is Coaching?
Coaching is a term that has been widely used for centuries. Initially it was used (and still is) as a term for transportation – a coach – transporting an individual from one place to another. The origin of the word “Coach” can be traced back to the 1550s from the Middle French coche, from the German word kotsche, and the Hungarian word kocsi, literally meaning “carriage of Kocs” from the name of the village in which the carriages were made.
Even the origin of the word coach seems appropriate if applied to the coaching profession today. There is a transportation of sorts that happens from one mindset or belief to another that is better suited for that individual. Often, there is a transformation from one state to another after looking at thoughts, beliefs, actions, feelings, and figuring out what different responses would occur if they could think differently, feel differently, and act differently.
The ICF (International Coach Federation) defines Professional Coaching as an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.
Coaching is focused on the future and transformation. Coaches will sometimes take a look at how clients have responded to events in the past, but it’s always in light of how to help that client move forward.
We humans often have a difficult time seeing something in ourselves that others fully see. Coaches will reflect back to you what you’ve just stated and because you are hearing your words from a different person, you more fully understand what you said – or more accurately, what you really meant. And in doing so, you uncover beliefs you hold that may not be serving you very well. Then, once uncovered or understood, you are able to change that belief to something better suited for you.
For example, if you say, “I will never get better at technology.” You are already telling your brain that you are not interested in technology, learning about it, understanding it, or even using it to your advantage. That is a belief. You may think, “I hate technology,” or “technology is only for young people” or something similar. Those are thoughts that will set up feelings of resistance, detachment, or anger, and already set you up to fail. Now, if you say, “I will do what it takes to get better at technology,” or “I am going to get curious about technology,” those statements feel differently. It’s a simple example, but the important part is to recognize what you are really saying to yourself and how it’s affecting your actions. Coaches are trained to reflect, recognize beliefs that may be limiting, and help you look at those beliefs differently.
Coaching is Directed by the Client
As a coach I believe in you. I believe that you know what is best for you and that you have the distinct role of deciding what you want out of work and life. Coaches may have exercises, thoughtful questions, provide insight or context, and perhaps assign homework (if you are so inclined) that will lead you through a process of uncovering what is holding you back and helping you see your path to change. In order to make powerful changes in your life, it needs to come from within you. Sustainable change occurs when you make the choice to change.
One Full Year
It’s been more than one full year since I started the program at Coach Training World to be a Certified Whole Person Coach. Learning how to be a better coach will be a life-long journey of mine. It’s a skill-set that I continue to hone and it’s also a profession in which I need to continue to walk my walk and talk my talk. I have a couple coaches myself and strongly believe in the value of those relationships. Coaching keeps me moving forward….and inward to discover what beliefs are holding me back. I continue to do my own work, because I believe it’s the most important work I can do to be the best coach I can be.
Lead Others, Without Losing Yourself
All parts of our lives are integrated. To improve one aspect, we must improve all – mind, body, spirit, heart.