So what exactly is coaching?! Thirteen months ago, my answer would have been very different to what it is now! I had experienced some ‘coaching’ at work and all it achieved was to wind me up and harden my view that it was not for me. Subsequently though, I signed up to be coached by a professional and the experience has been a world away from that first taste! What a difference it made that I had initiated the partnership and I had done it because there were specific things I wanted to work on.
For most of my working life I have experienced mentoring both as a mentor and a mentee. Coaching is very different to that. When I seek out a mentor I am looking to learn something from them; they might advise, teach, give feedback or simply encourage me. A coach on the other hand isn’t there to give advice or teach; their role is more to facilitate my decision making, learning and the subsequent changes I want to make.
I recently brought to a coaching session a decision about an event I wasn’t sure about. The session lasted just 25 minutes. Through careful questioning and listening my coach helped me work out that my issue wasn’t with the event itself but that there were deeper values that I needed to commit to so they didn’t go missing if we went ahead. I quickly decided on a course of action that would generate that commitment from myself and my team as well as allow my team to voice any values they needed commitment to as we proceeded with the event. It was great!!!
Another example came last year when a coaching ‘conversation’ helped me identify some long term goals that I had not yet articulated. Through that journey not only did I articulate these deep seated goals, I was able to define clear ‘me-shaped’ steps or mini-goals that would lead me towards my end game. I was able to articulate values that I felt it was important I held to in order to have integrity in the process. I was able to take immediate action and start integrating new habits into my lifestyle right from the get-go. It was exhilarating knowing that all that I was doing right now, was serving to make some goals that were profoundly dear to me, a reality. It was costly and hard work, breaking old habits and making new ones, but it has been so worth it!!
So you can see that if in either of those cases I had been mentored or advised, the outcome would have been very different, more so, my commitment and conviction moving forward would have been so much less; my ownership and sense of responsibility for my outcomes would have been minimal.
In both these and many other cases, coaching has enabled my heart, intuition and spirit to lead, it has enabled me to draw on my own expertise and knowledge of myself and my context, as well as my relationship with God. It has been a truly empowering and liberating experience! If this sounds good to you, then maybe coaching is for you.
There are many situations when coaching might be of help:
You’ve stopped making progress in an area you can see there is still progress to be made.
Maybe you’re stuck in groundhog day in an aspect of your life
You have a significant decision to make.
You are entering a new season in life and you’re not sure about it.
You are dissatisfied with an aspect of your life and you want that to change.
There are no limits to the areas of your life that could benefit from coaching:
…..The list goes on!
So I encourage you, if the concept of coaching sounds good to you, find a coach you’d like to work with and get started!