WHAT IS COACHING?

Coaching started as an intervention in sport to help athletes achieve their full potential and performance.  In the early 1990's there wasn't a lot of resource regarding coaching or coaching methods for other applications such as business and managers.  This spelled a number of researchers to write books about coaching methodology and its working practice.  Working practices and environments have changed over the last 20years and people wanted more empowerment and responsibility from their employers to undertake their roles in the business.  The more direct approach of telling people what to do was starting to create conflict.  Due to the shift in environment and the growing complexity of the workplace, coaching started to enter certain businesses.  In it's infancy it was seen as a tool to manage underperformance and so coaching relationships were kept fairly secret from others in the workplace.  Over time, this perception has started to change and coaching seen much more of a developmental tool for all to achieve their goals and aspirations.  

So what is coaching?  There is no one set statement or definition that clearly labels this development tool.  Research has given it numerous descriptions such as;

  • Unlocking a persons potential to maximise maximise their own performance - Sir John Whitmore

  • The art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another - Myles Downey

  • Coach - Tutor, Train, Give Hints, Prime with facts - Oxford Dictionary.

One thing that is clear is that in the relationship there will inevertably be one acting as the 'coach' and one who is the 'coachee'.  I will use these terms throughout this article.  

There are also various different names given to coaches such as Personal Coach, Business Coach, Financial Coach and Executive Coach.  One thing they all have in common is the point of these conversations being person centred and enabling the client to explore their goal.  As there are so many variants in the definition of coaching it leaves some organisations not knowing what coaching really is and what is on offer to them.  Although I have my own definition of coaching I have yet to create one that when spoken, it leaves the other person saying "I know what you mean".

Coaching has risen in popularity amongst individuals and organisations and it appears that this has been driven by the growing recognition that both learning and development are more effective when it's based on real-time challenges, it involves the whole person and not a sub set of skills.  With this in mind, there are various challenges facing both individuals and organisations.  

 

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