What is coaching?

In the current scenario the word Coaching is gradually coming to become a part of almost everybody’s lives. But do people actually know what coaching is?

Is it a way of simply telling people what to do or helping them in reflecting on their issue and generating new insights?

Most people just assume if they sought the help of a coach, he would provide tips, suggestions or some technique to solve their problem. But a coach is not someone who gives out tips – rather, he is someone

  • who asks questions
  • which facilitate thinking and reflection,
  • and build awareness, generates new insights
  • which then become the motivation to act.

Elaborating on this concept more, it can be said that

Coaching is essentially a conversation that builds understanding and awareness to take action. As John Whitmore said,

“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

A simple example that can be used as evidence for this is that there are multiple possible ways to handle a situation wherein a person faces a dilemma of whether to answer a call or not amidst a meeting.

As expected there are several ways to take care of it. Some will agree that simply avoiding a call is the best way out. Others may argue that neglecting the call may appear rude and may offend the caller, especially if the caller is a senior. So, it would be better to take the call and promise to talk later and later on, maybe even make the call instead of waiting for the other person to call.

The question is – what in fact is the best method?

The answer will vary as per the situation and depends on questions like who is the caller, how important is the meeting we are currently in and so on.

A coach won’t give you a way out or give you tips and tricks to handle the situation but rather ask you question that will help you reach the best-suited solution.

Like, in the above example the coach would ask questions related to – who is the caller, why you would not avoid the call, what would you rather do, what are your assumptions, so on and so forth, till you reach an answer.

The fact is how we behave with others is moulded by our beliefs, value, and assumptions. Often it becomes impossible to change our behaviour no matter how hard we try. This results in our inability to reflect and ponder values, beliefs, and assumptions that are driving our conduct in the situation.

The coach merely facilitates thinking to help the person bring out his assumptions that made him respond in a certain way. Once that is done, it becomes simpler to believe and connect with a new behaviour. It is all about the play of thoughts and assumptions. What we believe and expect guides our actions. The role of a coach is to help us understand our beliefs and conjectures.

In the above example, the Coach merely facilitated reflection and thinking to help the person surface his assumptions which made him believe and act in a way. Once it was surfaced, it was easier to think and connect with a new behaviour.

This is what coaches do.

The true transformational change is the benefit of coaching.

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