There are many misconceptions around what coaching really is. I have heard people say that it is another form of advisement, consultancy, or even teaching. These perceptions are not true. My purpose in this post is to educate you on what coaching is, especially those who have never experienced it or have had a perception formed without exploring it further.
A consultant is an expert who brings their experience and knowledge to the table to advise you on steps you should take to improve, whether personally, professionally, or improve your business operations. This form of a trusted adviser has great value, especially when you have the right consultants. When you or your business is faced with an issues that you think you cannot address with internal resources, or the operation of your business cannot afford to designate resources to the issue without sacrificing productivity, consults are an excellent answer to the problem. They come in with experience and expertise. They evaluate your current situation, help you formulate a plan that will address any issues, and advise you and your people on how to execute that plan. The best of the best in the consulting world receive the informal accolade of trusted .
I want to focus on, and define, that last word " ." Advisors share their experience, their knowledge, and their reality. Advisement is a suggested or recommended course of action. This has great value in the business world. It's value is seen within a time crunch and when inefficiencies need to corrected NOW, not later.
Coaching is not consulting. Coaching is a transformation in how you think. A good coach does not give advice, nor suggest path you should take in regards to addressing an issue. A good coach asks the right questions that help you answer your own questions. A good coach raises your awareness, and helps you learn HOW to think rather than learning WHAT to think. We are all born and raised in environments that shape our reality, and therefore, that reality limits what we think. Coaching is an avenue for breaking down those boundaries that limit our thinking. When coaching is effective, you are able to transform what you believe and how you think and arrive at answers you would have never thought of. It is a form of liberation.
Let's look at a client who has a problem with communication.
: A consultant would offer advice around avenues of communication. Written, audio, video, etc... They would help the client come up with a communication plan that will effectively communicate with their people. Relying on experience in the industry, and past clients, the consultant would be able draw on a tool bag of effective methods of communication to help their client address and improve their communication.
When Time and money are critical, this is an effective way to address this issue.
: A coach would approach this issue differently. They would ask questions like; "Why do you think your communication is ineffective? What do you feel you could do differently that would improve your communication? Are there methods of communication you fear, or dislike? Why? What forms of communication, have you observed, that tend to work best with your people? Are there deeper issues that need to be addressed to open the doors for more effective communication? Are there trust issues between your employees and your leadership? These questions can go on and on.
The point I am trying to make is this: Even reading this, you are thinking of your own communication, because we all can improve communication. My point is, you are THINKING. You are not following advice and acting. You are searching your own mind, your own reality, your own experience and becoming aware of the answers for yourself, and that is transformation, that is growth, and that is the ultimate in leadership. You are now leading yourself to solutions, and the most difficult person to lead is ourselves. You are breaking down the barriers that limit your thinking, and redefining your reality vs. allowing your reality to define you.
So you see, coaching is a transformation of thinking. Now, you have different coaches out there who focus on certain types of coaching. There are health coaches, life coaches, business coaches, and leadership coaches. The best coaches are curious about you and your issues. They ask questions that stimulate thought and internal dialogue. They spend little to no time giving advise. Coaching is a marathon that is designed for long term growth and the building of your legacy.
The most critical element, when taking part in coaching, is your commitment to the process and the coaching relationship. If you want a quick fix, or think one or two sessions will fix you pains, you are wrong. You must be fully engaged and in it for the long haul. That is the critical element to your transformation.
Everything I wrote above is why I love coaching so much. There is no greater reward, as a coach, than when I help someone find that transformation they are looking for within themselves. I will be a coach until the day I die.
Chris Waters is a Leadership Coach,
Owner of Agoge Leadership Development LLC.
Share Your Thoughts!
I encourage and look forward to your thoughts and feedback on my blog posts. Please feel free to take the time to share your comments on the posts that interest you.
The copyright in this website and the material on this website (including without limitation the text, computer code, artwork, photographs, images, music, audio material, video material and audio-visual material on this website) is owned by Christopher Waters and Agoge Leadership Development LLC and its licencors.