What is coaching?
The International Coach Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole.
What is a coach’s responsibility in the client-coach partnership?
A coach should:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve;
- Encourage client self-discovery;
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies; and
- Hold the client responsible and accountable.
Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Ultimately, coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.
Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.
What are the benefits of coaching?
Individuals who engage in a coaching partnership can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.
Consistent with a commitment to enhancing their personal effectiveness, they can also expect to see appreciable results in the areas of productivity, personal satisfaction with life and work, and the achievement of personally relevant goals.
How can I find a coach?
The ICF recommends the following coach selection tips:
- Educate yourself about coaching. (Thousands of articles have been written about it in the last three to five years. The ICF Research Portal also hosts coaching research articles, case studies, journals, etc.)
- Know your objectives for working with a coach.
- Interview three coaches before you decide on one. Ask each about his or her experience, qualifications, skills, and ask for at least two references.
- Remember, coaching is an important relationship. There should be a connection between you and the coach that “feels” right to you.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Coach
The most important aspect to consider when selecting a coach is finding someone with whom you can easily relate to and create the most powerful partnership. The ICF recommends the following questions to ask prospective coaches:
- What is your coaching experience (number of individuals coached, years of experience, types of coaching situations)?
- What is your coach-specific training (enrolled in an ICF approved training program, other coach-specific training, etc.)?
- What is your coaching specialty or areas in which you most often work?
- What specialized skill or experience do you bring to your coaching?
- What is your philosophy about coaching?
- What is your specific process for coaching (how sessions are conducted, frequency, etc.)?
- What are some coaching success stories (specific examples of individuals who have succeeded as a result of coaching/how the coach has added value)?