Coaching is the act of partnering with a client in a manner that is thought-provoking and creative in the aim to assist the client in reaching their goals, maximizing their personal and profession potential, and inspiring them to embrace and embody the happiest, healthiest version of their authentic self. The coaching process comes from the mentality of each individual being whole, complete, and capable reaching any goal, and the coach is there to encourage and help the client to explore the different perspectives and questions that will bring clarity and direction to help the client along their unique path.
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The coach’s role includes, but it not limited to:
Within the coaching relationship, the client is in control of each session. The session is your time to use as you choose. Clients will receive the most out of their experience if they bring a meaningful topic and a willingness to be open and honest with themselves, ready to explore wherever the session goes. The client will get the most out of their session if they are:
The length of time that an individual or team works with a coach varies based on the topic or desired outcome of the coaching relationship. It often depends on the goal itself, whether it is short or long term, as well as the frequency of coaching sessions which may depend on the schedule or financial availability of the client or team. Many work with a coach for three to six months, some may choose to work with a coach for a length of years depending on what they feel is necessary for their individual needs and the goals they would like to achieve.
Coaching is often confused with other support and service professions such as therapy, mentoring, and consulting. Coaching is unique from its fellow support professions in that it is forward, future focused and views the client as the expert in their own lives. Coaching is geared to help move individuals into the next stage or to help them come into their full potential. Below are some brief descriptions of the lanes within which each of these professions operates, and how coaching differs from them. If during your session your coach notices a need that may be better met by another service professional, the coach is ethically bound to offer you a referral to the service they believe is a better fit for your needs.
Therapy: Therapists focus on the past events and experiences that create difficulties in the client’s current life. Therapists help their clients to process and heal from trauma, dysfunction, behavioral issues, and emotional difficulties. Coaches can help to identify and process emotion around current goals, sense of self, and current circumstances while maintaining a future focused outlook throughout the session.
Consulting: Consultants are hired in order to diagnose a problem within a team or organization and present and potentially implement the solution in order to fix the issue. Coaches on the other hand do not give advice or produce solutions, instead they assist the client in finding their own solutions and how they plan to implement the changes they themselves initiate and deem necessary.
Mentor: Mentors are experienced experts who are expected to guide, advise, and provide direction for those they mentor. Coaching sees each individual as the expert in their own lives and capable of producing their own direction and solutions, and the coach is present to help explore the topic in order to uncover the answers the client seeks.
Typically, the coaching process begins with an introductory call in which the client and coach can mutually determine that the partnership would be an effective match given the coaching style and desired outcomes. Once an effective match has been determined, the client will bring their meaningful topic, struggle, or desired outcome to the first session where the coach will ask open-ended questions that allow the client to fully explore their situation and the different factors and perspectives that contribute to it. The coach will ensure that the sessions stay on topic for the clients desired outcome for that session and will make meaningful observations intended to be thought provoking or create awareness for the client. The coach may offer an optional exercise or resource to the client that they see as potentially helpful. The client can choose a new topic or goal for each session, or they can continue to build upon the previous topic, it is 100 percent up to the client to decide what would be most beneficial to them.
A compatible or effective coaching partnership is usually determined in the introductory call, often called the ‘chemistry call'. This call is intended not only to answer the basic questions surrounding factors such as cost and availability, but also coaching style, the client’s desired outcomes, and their personal needs within the coaching partnership. Picking a coach ultimately comes down to how comfortable the client feels with the coach and if they believe that that particular coach’s style will be a good fit for the individual and the goal they are trying to reach. In turn, the coach will also be aware of any dynamic or factor that would in any way hinder the client’s growth or progress towards the client’s stated goals. During an introductory call, a coach may refer the client to another support professional or coach that they believe to be a more effective match. It all comes down to whether or not the paring feels right to both the client and the coach. As coaching is a partnership, it is important to communicate any concerns or questions to your potential coach prior to signing the coaching agreement and that the clients feels comfortable communicating openly and honestly with their coach.