One way or another, even in the most ancient societies there were some kind of coaches, under different identities, such as priests, shamans or older men, a grandfather, un uncle or a godfather. Later, the “coach” posture has been found in art, and more highlighted, in sports.
In sports, of course, many of the coaches are ex performance sportsmen, but gradually, people understood this didn’t have to be a must. If a coach would be as good or even better than the one he coaches, he wouldn’t be the coach but the champion himself. But the communities and technology evolved, and this role became a must in a corporate world, within the business and entrepreneurial environment.
First of all, coaching is a profession, and a first condition is to train within a professional coaching school, internationally accredited, ICF (International Coaching Federation) being among the best professional coach’s associations world wide. But that’s not all, a good coach needs supervision, specializations, getting different credential levels, and a lot of practice. Coaching is not a theoretical domain at all, in which someone learns some techniques to use’em in a predictable or predefine way, like a script. Coaching is a continuous learning domain, it’s a vivid process, it’s quite a life-style.
Like any other profession, there are a lot of definitions and articles about coaching, and some are more or less aligned with ICF standards. At a superficial level, I hear quite often that a coach listens and asks questions and the client finds his own answers. Of course, this perspective is far from catching the complexity of coaching profession.
I choose a simple definition, for those who want to understand more about coaching:
Coaching is a professional relationship of accompanying the client’s dialogue so he can get the expected results for his personal life, his career, team or organisation challenges or ambitions.
It’s the most efficient process that accelerates your evolution from “where you are now” to “where you want to be”.
Let’s unravel a bit this definition of coaching as part of helping you to have an accurate image of what is (and a few isn’t) coaching:
1. Coaching is a process in which a coach accompanies, which sets the coach-client relationship like equal-to-equal one, in which both partners learn from each other and they’re developing together.
This perspective reminds me as a coach to not ever positioning myself as superior to you as a client, no matter the age, experience, statute etc., posture which could make me, in an inappropriate way, offering solutions or to influence you.
I believe that the only one who knows best how the problem or the challenge look is you. As a result, when you are a coaching client you don’t need an expert in your problem (you already have one – and that’s you) but you need a partner to accompany you, shoulder by shoulder, on your own discovery and changing journey. In my training as a coach I was prepared to adopt the so-called “low positioning” during the coaching relationship, expressing my vulnerability, intense feelings and boundaries, going through some difficulties similar with the ones you have. I practice systemic coaching, and inside this approach, this posture is one of the keys to success. Its meaning is different from “inferiority” as a common sense and I will have a broad approach in a next article.
2. A good coach accompanies the client’s dialogue not the client
For the sake of a “etymological journey”, the word dialoguecomes from Greek, where dialogos means conversationand the ancient roots of the word are diawhich means through/byand logoswhich means word. Coaching is a conversation art where the client’s dialogue becomes way of personal introspection.
Talking about your personal and professional challenges, you develop, little by little, a good awareness of your human qualities, of your real motivators, of the strengths and resources that you have. And this is about “the Who” you really are!
You’ll be surprised, maybe, that in coaching, the problem’s “content” is just a secondary aspect, client’s concerns, personally or professionally are not that important. No matter what the problem is, the answer is the relationship client-problem.
In other words, as a coach I reflect your personal process, or your pattern, more exactly the way you work, the way you’re facing the problem, the way you move and make decisions, what motivates you, what keeps you from making moves, the way you relate to others around you or to your objectives, what makes you being productive, effective or happy etc..
From my experience until now, in this framework the clients have the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, the make plans and action strategies, they produce real change and get extraordinary results.
3. A good coach is present so the client can get the results he wants.
This positioning reminds me as a coach to not come in with my own objectives and desires, to not project my own aspirations on client’s solution and to not have bigger ambitions than client’s ones regarding the problem. May sound implicit, but sometimes, some coaches are running by their ego being motivated by the wish to be too “useful” and they use coaching questions to drive the client to where they want.
Beyond all this, coaching is a results oriented process and not objective oriented. The coaching process is about exceeding the limits, project development, facing challenges, aiming ambitions, achieving performance or simply, a better life.
Imagine you run a marathon. If you look from the start line towards the finish one, in fact you’re looking at the target. It may seem difficult, overwhelming, it may seem like you don’t have the means and can become unreachable. Now, change your place and look from the finish line towards the start one, and you’ll see the results you got, you’re already there, you know the way, you just need to act.
I believe that everyone of us, in the subconscious, knows exactly where to go. But sometimes, maybe you don’t have clarity, maybe you’re lost on the way pulled in all directions, maybe you feel fear, anxiety and doubt, maybe you just need validation and encouragement…or maybe none of these.
As I write, I realize how many things I would like to say, how complex and simple at the same time this subject is and knowing about the challenge I have to write briefly I will stop here.
Yes, coaching is a paradox itself and coaching is not about understanding and it’s not worth trying to explain. If you really want to understand you need to experience coaching and while you are trying to understand you will actually get concrete results for your real challenges or ambitions.
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