Coaching is a relationship between a coach and client, which involves the coach supporting and empowering the client to identify and activate steps they can take that move them further in growth and closer towards their goals. In effect, it looks towards the coachee’s vision or dream and develops a strategy to attain it.
Coaching is focused on three things:
The coach is a combination of a sounding board to process with, and a mirror to measure progression. The coach only supports the vision and goals of the client – they do not impose their dreams, ideas or agendas. In that sense, all accomplishment is the clients and the clients alone. This is also true for any excuses!
Coaching is designed to bring focus and help achieve an individual’s growth, progress, and development. It takes both a clients current situation and their envisioned future and helps plot a practical and progressive journey between the two. It is an ongoing partnership between coach and client, with an evolving dialogue between the two parties to help achieve desired targets. Because of this, the coaching process will be goal-orientated and should, therefore, be less likely to be a long-term endeavour.
Coaching enables clients to get clarity and therefore make purposeful strategic decisions. It also empowers them to break through obstacles, and grow into their potential. In order for coaching to be successful, both parties require time and patience for the process to bear fruit, as well as an openness towards each other. In addition, a commitment to the process – and therefore the other party – is essential. The coaching process demands certain things from the coach – namely possession of a specific set of skills. However, for the client, the encouragement is less on skills and more on having a correct attitude from the beginning.
Successful growth has five requirements:
Successful growth requires dialogue, which is two-way communication between coach and client that involves talking and listening. The client benefits by being able to express thoughts and feelings concerning the development process. They are also able to enjoy feedback from the coach as he partners with them throughout the process.
Successful growth requires vision, which is looking forward to the developmental destination the client wishes to reach or attain. The client benefits from the vision of the coaching process as it should motivate and spur them onwards in their drive towards development.
Successful growth requires commitment, which is sticking with the process even when results don’t seem forthcoming. The client benefits from commitment when they continue to pursue the coaching process action plan, and begin to see results in their own lives.
Successful growth requires strategy, which is a clearly defined set of practical steps for the client to undertake, that takes the form of an action plan. The client benefits from this strategy as it identifies the progressive steps for them to take on their coaching journey. In addition, they are able to look back over previous steps in the process and see how they have progressed and developed, giving them increased motivation.
Successful growth requires openness, which is an attitude of vulnerable honesty and accountability throughout the course of the coaching process. The client benefits from this by allowing the coach to see the exact status of the client during the process, enabling the coach to be more specific and accurate in his constructive feedback. This can only be good for the client developmentally.
Coaching isn’t the only method of personal development available. Five one methods, and how they differ to coaching are:
Therapy tends to look to the past to deal with an issue in the present. It will look backwards to identify and address root causes of negative patterns of behaviour or attitude. Therefore, it will tend to focus exclusively on a single issue. It also has a medical edge to it, potentially involving psychiatry and psychology. However, coaching is more focused on the present, with an eye on a desired vision for the future. It is more holistic, as a coaching process will look at any issues that affect the journey towards the desired goal. Therapy focuses only on the single issue; coaching focuses on the desired goal and will deal with any issues that affect that. In effect, coaching looks to unlock the present potential within a person to help them grow. Therapy looks for growth by addressing issues from the past.
Counselling is similar to therapy in that it looks to the past to address and resolve a particular issue. Counselling is therefore past-orientated and aimed towards people who have significant life-affecting issues. It aims to create a better present by addressing the past. In effect, counselling looks to create a better present by dealing with the past. Coaching looks to create a better future by transforming the present.
Advising, teaching and training is the impartation and transfer of knowledge or skills to students. This is driven by the advisor, teacher or trainer, meaning there is a clear hierarchy and dominance in this kind of developmental relationship. However, coaching is much more like a support partnership. In effect, teaching and training look to the teacher or trainer to provide the answers. Coaching looks to the client to provide his or her own answers, supported and guided by a coach.
Consultancy is looking to an expert in a field to come in and bring an external, objective viewpoint to improve or develop an area. In effect, a consultant is bringing their own set knowledge into a situation. This can be inflexible and set in stone, and either accepted or rejected. A coach partners with a client in a dynamic, evolving and flexible process meaning there will always be something of value. In addition, the client under guidance from the coach looks to himself as the answer to his questions and situation. In effect, a consultant is looked to for the answers whereas, with coaching, the client is guided and supported to find their own answers.
Mentoring is an instructional relationship, based on equipping specific knowledge or skills to a client. This means the mentor must have experience or expertise in the relevant field. Coaching helps clients find their own way and encourages them to look to themselves for their own growth. In effect, mentoring is dependent on the mentors’ ability to transfer skills; coaching is dependent on the client to answer their own questions.
Any growth that we want to see needs to be balanced, or it won’t be sustainable. Balanced growth is measured and thorough, encompassing one of five elements each of us has in our lives. Whether we are conscious of these elements or not, or have focused on them or not, each shape and impacts the other elements, and therefore influences our life choices and results. Effective coaching walks the client through each of these five elements, which builds upon the previous element. This ensures holistic growth. If one element hasn’t been given the appropriate time and assessment or is skipped altogether, the coaching will not bear long-term fruit and any impact will be short-term. Our growth will not be balanced or well-rounded. The five elements are:
Purpose is our mission – our reason for existence. Our destination is our vision – what does our dream look like when fully manifested? Values are the mentality we have, which shows itself in our actions and reveals our attitudes, mindsets and beliefs. Our systems is our personal framework of skills and knowledge. Lastly, goals is the strategy, tactics, targets, objectives and plans needed to see success. We all have these five areas, whether we are aware of them or not.
‘Panoramic’ means ‘all-sight’ and covers seven questions of perspective that help us walk through each stage of the coaching journey. These questions are:
These questions help us identify:
- Where we have come from – not because we want to remain there, but it provides context and understanding as to why the present reality may have the shape it does.
- What our dreams, goals and aspirations are – what we, in our deepest places, want our lives to look like.
- Where we are going – is our current trajectory taking us towards, or away from, our dreams?
- Where we are today – we need to acknowledge our reality before we can bring transformation to it.
- What we are growing – are our current mindsets and attitudes helping or hindering the pursuit of our goals?
- What we are building – do our current skills and knowledge lend themselves to successful attainment of our goals, or do we need to see growth in either?
- What are next steps are – goals without actions are just fantasy.
Panoramic coaching provides a framework for the coach to know what area he is to be asking questions into. It also brings a natural, logical structure to each session as well the whole process. This enables the coach to see where the client is on the journey, helping him to use the right tools to benefit the client.
As each question builds upon the previous, we can be certain that each of the five elements of our lives are impacted and we see holistic growth. This process is a powerful tool for both coach and client to ensure maximum benefit from the coaching journey.
Each of us is individuals with our own stories, complexities and layers. Coaching brings a systematic process to a person to provide a framework for growth, yet has enough flexibility that is a truly personalised experience. Coaching allows each of us to focus on our own growth, and with a partner, develop ourselves so we can be the best we can be.
To find out today how focused you are on your growth is, take the free Life Alignment Assessment.