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What is coaching?

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

It appears that I’m a coach who forgets to talk about coaching…I may not be getting the hang of this business malarkey! Maybe it’s time to put aside my fear of being perceived as ickily salesy or pushy, and actually talk about the fact that coaching is bloody brilliant.

So, what IS coaching (other than bloody brilliant)? Excellent question – glad you asked!

My favourite definition (yes, I’m the kind of saddo who has favourite definitions) is this one from The Coaching Organisation:

“Put simply, coaching is a conversation, or a series of conversations, that one person has with another in order to help them move forward and/or create change.”

Feeling a tad disappointed that it’s not about telling you how to solve all your problems? So was I! But take a moment to think about all the advice and solutions you’ve been offered in the past: how often did other people’s solutions to your problems feel right for you and/or actually work?

Your coach believes that you have all the answers within you and that their job is to help you access them. How empowering is that?!

When facing issues in life – maybe feeling stuck in a rut, or experiencing difficult emotions, or struggling to deal with the impact of major life events, or “just” trying to change an unwanted habit, for example – digging deeper into what we’re thinking and feeling helps us to become more aware of unhelpful thought patterns, reactions and behaviours. From that awareness, we can start to find opportunities and build strategies for creating the change we want.

You might be thinking that you can do that for yourself, and, to different degrees in different scenarios, you may well be able to. But a coach will bring a different perspective and will usually pick up on things that you might not notice or may sub-consciously be avoiding. They will be able to guide you through techniques for exploring what’s going on for you, and for planning and implementing change. They will hold you accountable as you set yourself goals, and they will believe in you, even – especially – when you don’t believe in yourself.

I once had a session with someone who described their problem in terms of struggling to move forward, but, when asked where they wanted to get to, they talked about rising up. I asked about that difference in direction: they hadn’t been conscious of it, and the resulting conversation caused a realisation of the extent to which they were still carrying the weight of paternal expectations and assumptions about what was appropriate behaviour for them. Moving forward with that weight was a struggle; unburdening themselves of the weight would allow them to rise.

As a coach, I did not find or provide the insight. The coachee did all that themselves. I was simply better placed to be a curious, objective observer of their expressed thoughts than they were, and that can be invaluable.

If you’d like to know more about how coaching would help you, please feel free to drop me a line or book an online Tea & Biscuits Chat (no charge, no obligation, no pressure) – I love to chat about this!

In case you’re as sad as I am, here are some more definitions of coaching for you!

· “Building awareness, responsibility and self-belief” – Sir John Whitmore

· “Unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance” – Timothy Gallwey

· “A one-to-one relationship in which the coach supports the coachee to identify, focus on, and achieve what is important to them” – Leadership Connections

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