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What is Coaching?

Coaching is a partnership between a coach and an individual that supports the achievement of results, based on goals set by the individual.

What I value about coaching is that the individual chooses the focus of the ‘conversation’, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions as well as concepts and principles which can assist in generating possibilities, potential and actions. Coaching can be seen as a collaborative process in which clients discover answers for themselves through the coach’s use of questions. Through the coaching process the clarity that is needed to support the most effective actions is achieved.

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.

Coaching presupposes that it is not the coach’s responsibility to ‘fix’ the client. The client is an expert on themselves and the skill of the coach, and their role, is in allowing the person to come up with their own solutions. This doesn’t mean that the coach brings nothing to the relationship – they have knowledge based theory, methods, exercises and questions that help the person move forwards. Nevertheless, the coach’s skills are based around processes, not solutions.

In essence, coaching has two main facets. First it is performance focused, which means it is concerned with helping individuals perform tasks to the best of their ability. Second, it is person-centred, which means that the individuals being coached are seen to have the important insights.

Photograph by Sarah Bruce