Is It Time For You To Choose A Coach?
July 9, 2012 • comment(s)
You continue to hear about friends and colleagues enlisting the support of a coach to help grow their businesses, enhance careers or make a change in their personal lives. What is all this talk about? What is coaching and how could a coach help you? Where do you find a coach? This two-part series will help answer these questions and provide an outline on what to look for in a coach, as well as resources to find a coach that is a fit for you.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is defined as the co-creative relationship between a client and a coach that serves to transition the client from where they are to where they want to be. It is a catalyzing relationship that accelerates the process of great performance.
Coaching for business and personal performance is a relatively new field with the International Coaches Federation (ICF - www.coachfederation.org) celebrating its 15 year anniversary in 2010. As such, many people are unfamiliar with the nature of a coaching relationship. Consider it much like a coach you would have for sport. A coach provides guidance, structure, knowledge, advice and accountability, yet they cannot do the work for you. A coach helps you create and implement a development plan that works for you, whether for your business or personal life or both.
What is Coaching Not?
Coaching is often confused with consulting, and to add to the confusion, coaches sometimes serve in both roles. Here are some clues to differentiate coaching from consulting:
A coach asks
A consultant tells
A coach supports
A consultant prescribes
Coaching solutions are individualized
Consulting solutions are uniform
A coach is an expert strategist
A consultant is an expert in a field
In coaching, the client does the work
In consulting, the consultant prescribes while the client implements
One is not better than the other; however, you need to know what challenge you want to solve before hiring. Do you need a solution to a specific issue? A consultant would fill the bill. Are you looking to develop strategies to implement in your personal or professional life? Then a coach is what you are looking for. Once you have identified what you want to achieve, it is easier to know the type of support and the person who can provide it.
So, now you get the idea that a coach asks and supports you in developing solutions, sounding a little like a session with a therapist. The easiest way to differentiate coaching from therapy is that coaching is forward-based. That is, it is focused on making a difference in your future. Therapy can differ in its many forms, but it often involves delving into the past and uncovering events or circumstances that are preventing you from moving forward. Coaching presumes that you are ready for forward movement. Should your work with a coach reveal the need for therapy or other counseling, a professional and ethical coach will refer you to an appropriate person for this need.
In my next posting, I'll address what to look for in a coach and where to find one.
Barbara Stewart is an ICF Associate Certified Coach and founded Accelus Partners in 2010 after a twenty year career in business and finance coaching. Barbara’s experience uniquely positions her to support clients in a variety of ways. Rethinking and reinvention were hallmarks of her early career years as she found ways to continue growing and enhancing her skill set in an international environment.