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“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear,

Who has you see what you don’t want to see,

So that you can be

Who you always known you could be.”

Tom Landry

Coaching is not a therapy.

It’s a product development, with you as the product.

Fast Company

In today’s world of high speed success – whatever field you choose - be it your career progression, professional & personal relationships, ensuring financial security, aspiring educational and technological competence, working on your passion – how fast you want it to happen is relative to your expectations. Success here is the speed in which you want to convert your ‘intended’ expectations to ‘achievable’ expectations.

With multiple expectations you are bound to have a blurred internal & external vision of the fast pace of changing landscape of life. Whatever milestones of success you have crossed, there will be a need to sound off your thoughts with someone you can sync with, trust and confide in to align your ‘expectations’ to ‘actionable’ reality.

This ‘someone’ is your coach – who will walk with you in your professional or personal thought journey to open up the possibilities within yourself.

Before we take a look at what Coaching is, let’s figure out what coaching is not.

Coaching is not Counselling:

· Counselling is based on the past and problem focused whereas coaching is future and solution focused.

· Counselling works towards emotions while coaching works towards outcomes.

· Counselling gives advice and recommendation and leaves it to the client to adopt it whereas the coach guides the client to arrive at the desired outcome.

· The counselor has the answers and offers diagnosis and treatment, whereas the coach does not give advice but explores the outcomes along with the client so that there is ownership and commitment to make solutions happen.

Coaching is not Training:

· Training is ‘imparting’ of knowledge, skills or information to a group of persons. It is left to them to figure out how to use the training once it is imparted.

· Coaching is one to one (although, team coaching is making its presence felt) and uses ‘behavior’ as a tool to enhance existing level of knowledge, skills and attitude.

· Training is formal compared to the informality of coaching.

· The Trainer is a Subject Matter Expert(SME), whereas a coach is more of a ‘Facilitator’.

· The medium of conversation in training is more of ‘telling’ and in coaching it is ‘asking’.

Coaching is not Mentoring:

· Mentoring is a process when a senior or more experienced person is assigned to act as an advisor, counsellor or guide to a junior or trainee.

· It is on the basis of “you learn from me” whereas in coaching its “let’s hear from you” from the client.

· Coaching is partnering with clients’ in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspire them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

· Mentoring is informal and on need basis and could extend for as long as the mentor and mentee is comfortable to continue the process.

· Coaching is very structured in terms of number of sessions and has a specific and measurable signs of change.

· Mentoring outcome shifts over time and depends on the relationship of the mentor and mentee.

Coaching is not Therapy:

· Therapy is administered by an healthcare professional (Ph.D/Psy.D)to diagnose and resolve problematic beliefs, behaviors, etc. that focuses on the past to understand the present and resolves it through introspection and analysis.

· Coaches need no specific academic qualification and at best are required to be accredited from a reputed certification organization.

· Coaching starts with current situation and progresses towards an action based goal defined by the client.

· Therapist focuses on “Why” certain behavioral patterns occur and coaches work on “How” to work towards achieving goals

Coaching is not Consulting:

· Consultants provide answers or outside expertise, being Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) through a recommended set of actions as ‘solutions’. It’s up to the client to adopt that ‘solution’.

· The consultants come up with ‘solutions’ and the coaches ‘guide’ clients to move towards a defined goal.

· In the realm of possibilities, the coach ‘explores possibilities’ with the client in real terms which increases accountability, whereas the consultant ‘provides’ the answers and leaves it to the client to work on it.

Let’s see what coaching is?

Coaching is an interaction between a coach and coachee through a structured process to explore possibilities of improvement/development of areas of concern spelt out by the client (coachee). It is a collective thinking process, where both travel together in search of answers and the coach facilitates the process by asking the questions, listening to the answers and questioning the answers for more introspective depth.

You might ask: my friend can do it for me – so why a coach? An external coach is a personal change agent who can bring an unbiased objective in a non-judgmental environment. The process allows you to explore yourself with total freedom. Whereas, a friend will give you advice based on the experience of friendship with you or their perception of you based on the friendship. Coach listens without judgement & evaluation and allows you to explore the possibilities the way you want to achieve.

Why do I need Coaching?

In the speed of our doing many things in our life, we tend to push certain aspects of our genuine expectations behind or are at the cross-roads of a decision making and not sure where to go from there. Some of the areas where Coaching can help resolve are:

· How to take success to the next step?

· How do I organize my day to day life better ?

· Enhancing creativity.

· Maintaining a hobby or developing a passion.

· Improving relationships with my boss, colleagues, family and friends.

· Taking career decisions at stages of beginning a career, mid-career crises and options on retirement.

· Pressure of exams and career building for students and fresher’s.

· Improving communication skills.

· Inability to break habits.

· Barriers in finding a life partner.

· Help clarify goals and objectives and strategy to overcome business and personal obstacles.

· What do I do to lead a purposeful and meaningful life.

· Dissatisfaction with work environment.

· Coping with work life balance.

· How to prioritize meaningfully and work a plan.

· Dealing with frequent irritability.

· Dealing with high levels of stress, anxiety and fears.

The list is endless when it comes to coaching and we have seen that coaching is a necessity more than a choice if we are to add meaning to our way of life.

So coaching is here to stay !

The Coaching Process

It starts with a foundation session and chemistry meeting where the coach and the coachee try to understand each other and establish the ‘connect’ with trust and confidentiality.

On mutually deciding to take it further, there are likely to be 6 to 8 session (of 45 minutes to an hour) across a period of 3 – 4 months provided the logistics of time, date and mode (face to face or virtual) are mutually agreed upon.

The confidentially clause & contracting agreement is done to establish professionalism to the process. The commercials are discussed during the foundation meeting and mutually agreed upon depending on whether it is a corporate or individual requirement.

During the sessions the coach endeavors to define a goal for the session or sessions and uses competencies to demonstrate ethical practice, cultivates trust and safety, listens actively and maintains presence, evokes awareness and facilitates client growth.

Thus, coaching is not a ‘diagnostic’ requirement – it is a process which enables everyone, who undergoes coaching, to enhance their potential beyond what they think is possible on their own.

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