What is coaching?
Coaching practices and definitions vary wildly, but below is a description of what you can expect if you engage me as your coach.
The coaching process will start with what is commonly called a 'chemistry meeting'. This is a free, no obligation casual conversation where we meet (preferably in person, but virtually OK too) and discuss what you would like to achieve from coaching, and for us to get to know each other.
It is important you find a coach who suits you, and I recommend you meet with a few coaches before committing to a program. Some coaches are more 'touchy feely', some are very direct and others will have specialist knowledge which may be valuable to you. All of these aspects will change the value you will get from the coaching program.
After deciding to commit to a coaching program, we will schedule a meeting in which we outline our respective responsibilities, and to explain the code of ethics to which I am bound. It may be practical to launch straight into the first session after these formalities.
My coaching programs are a minimum of three months, after which you will have the option to re-engage for a further period. Although isolated coaching sessions can be useful, I aim to transform areas of your life, and this requires time. Usually, coaching sessions are conducted every 2 weeks, and are around 60-90 minutes in duration.
The coaching process I use is based on International Coaching Federation (ICF) practices. At its most basic level, this process is designed to seek out limiting behaviours or beliefs you may have, and then help you formulate and implement a plan to either minimize or eliminate them.
I consider myself both a 'leadership coach', and a 'performance coach'. What does this mean? When a coach adds a prefix like this, it is either because they have relevant specialist knowledge and skill, or that they prefer to focus on a specific area (for any number of reasons).
In my case, my professional background has given me extensive experience, knowledge and skill in both leadership and human performance. So how does this fit into the coaching process?
Most qualified coaches have the basic skills to coach you in any area of your life, but specialist coaches will use their knowledge to further explore specific areas. And, at times, it may be appropriate to briefly step outside the coaching framework and provide some specialist knowledge; to act as a mentor. It should be noted that coaching is distinct from mentoring, and I use it judiciously.
Let's look at a fictional example:
Imagine I am coaching 'Sarah', a senior director at an IT firm. We are exploring some of the problems she has been having with communications within her team, and in particular, she has noticed a lack two way discussion at meetings. She feels this is detracting from her performance as a leader as her team is less effective than it could be, and her home life is affected due to her preoccupation with this issue.
As Sarah's coach, I will help her explore the perceived communication problem from a range of perspectives, including her team members. Through this process, she will greatly increase her understanding of the issue and its impact; how it is affecting her and others, including family and friends. She will develop greater empathy for her team's needs, and will formulate her OWN plan to change the communications landscape at work. I will help her 'stay on track' with the changes she has committed to, and will frequently 'touch base' with her (maybe once or twice a week) to encourage her and get feedback.
However, as a specialist leadership coach, I can offer more to Sarah. During the session, we may briefly step outside the coaching relationship to allow me to pass on some specialist knowledge. In this specific case, I may spend five minutes discussing how a leader's handling of workplace errors can drastically affect the team's feeling of safety, leading to improved two-way communications. This is an example where a brief period of mentoring is appropriate, and greatly increases the efficacy of the session for Sarah.
In summary, coaching is a very well researched and proven process with a documented high return on investment. For any individual who wants to attain peak performance AND balance in their life, it is my belief that coaching should be considered as an option. If you are interested in learning more, or wish to setup a 'chemistry meeting', please feel welcome to contact me.
We all have virtually unlimited potential, and I'd love to help you unlock more of yours!