Ever since I started talking to people around me about my career, “professional life coaching” I have got many questions. “Is this a sports coach”, “Is this like mentoring”, “Is this counseling”, “Why would someone go to a coach” are some of those. I thought it would be a good idea to compile some introductory information on coaching to help me answer those. In this following write up I have used both the terms “coach” and “life coach” interchangeably.
Coaching has been widely used in the business world for leadership development. In recent decades, with the fast changing world, people in every walk of life are facing life challenge and demands that has created the need for life coaches even outside the business regime. Coaching as a profession has significantly emerged in last two decades. Life coaches started helping their clients to achieve their personal and professional goals and help live a more fulfilling and happier life. A survey on coaching revealed that many people found their coaches as a "sounding board" and a "motivator". Clients are looking for someone "to really listen to them and give honest feedback."
Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their potential.
Coaches provide an environment of safety, respect and absolute belief in client’s inherent wisdom, resourcefulness and wholeness. Coaching partnership uncovers limiting beliefs; shine the light on unlimited field of possibilities that generates conscious and lasting change.
Purpose of coaching is to deepen the learning of self awareness so that client’s goal, actions steps and plans can emerge organically.
Coaching is especially effective for people who are internally motivated, personally accountable, and willing to be coached. Through coaching successful people can accelerate their results. It is NOT recommended as a process for remedial action where the assumption is that the client needs "fixing".
Who Uses a Coach
If someone wants to have more peace in their daily life, are feeling overwhelmed, are going through a tough transition, or feeling they aren’t living up to their full potential, coaching may be the right thing to go for.
When people reach certain stable points in their lives and starts thinking what’s next, they can use coaching to go to the next level. It is the "need pyramid" where a person has fulfilled their basic needs and now they want to have more satisfaction from their life.
Each of us has something uniquely beautiful to offer to the world. Sometimes this doesn’t come through clearly because we’re too busy struggling with the details of daily life. Gaining a sense of peace and clarity can help free up time and energy and help alleviate stress so that we can live each day to the fullest and at our personal best.
Therapy and Coaching
In therapy, initial focus is often on underlying issues from the past; it diagnoses symptoms and disease and facilitates healing. On the other hand, coaching focuses on the client’s growth and forward movement in the present and future. It facilitates learning and helps people achieve their goals. In simpler word, people goes for therapy when they are sick, while people goes for coaching when they are fine as is and they want more from life.
Consulting, Mentoring and Coaching
Coaching is sometimes mistaken as consulting or mentoring. A consultant is an expert who provides the answers and direction and a mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance. In coaching relationship the client is held as the expert who has the answers or the ability to find the answers. Mentoring sometimes can use coaching techniques as well. The coach asks powerful questions, challenges client’s limiting beliefs and assumptions thus helps the client to create deep awareness and helps to move forward.