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Considering becoming a coach?

What is coaching?
Coaching is an increasingly popular tool for supporting an individual’s or group’s personal development. It is used within a business environment to enhance performance and encourage achievement and attainment.

The coaching relationship is a partnership – an equal relationship allowing the coachee to:
– Clarify and set the goals that they really want to achieve
– To encourage them to do more than they would have probably done on their own
– To help them to focus better so that they are able to produce results more quickly
– To provide them with the tools, support and structure to enable them to accomplish more

Coaching is not about:
– Telling them what they should or should not do
– Counselling
– Therapy for clinical issues (e.g. depression or high levels of stress/anxiety)

Coaching Definitions
Here are some definitions as to what coaching means:
“Coaching is the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another.” (Downey, 2003)
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than by teaching them (Whitmore, 2003)
“[Coaching is] developing a person’s skills and knowledge so that their job performance improves, hopefully so that organizational objectives are achieved.” (CIPD, 2008)

Why Do You Want To Be A Coach?
In “Coaching- Learning Made Simple” (2007) Butterworth-Heineman; David Pardey suggests that “it may be:
•    Something you have wanted to do for some time to pass on your knowledge and skills and see other people develop and improve.
•    A way of building or developing your career.
•    Part of your job that you need to be able to do.”

Pardey also suggests that the following key questions to ask yourself “to understand your own attitude and motivation:
– Is it your choice or somebody else’s that you should become a coach?
– Have you been coached yourself, or seen other people coaching?
– Have you already done any coaching?
– How do you feel about coaching?
….One of the most important parts of the coach’s role is to encourage people to become reflective. Reflective means that they consciously think about and analyse what they have done or are doing. But you cannot expect to encourage other people to be reflective if you aren’t reflective yourself…You can start by using these questions to reflect on (to consciously think about and analyse) your motivations, experiences and attitudes to coaching.”

Qualities of a Coach
In “Coaching & Mentoring at Work” (2nd edition) (2012) Open University Press- Mary Connor and Julia Pokora suggest the following qualities of a coach:
•    Supportive – a non-judgemental listener
•    Challenging – not afraid to disagree or question
•    Assertive – able to state wants and needs
•    Open – receptive to new ideas and ways of thinking , to ‘half-baked’ ideas
•    Transparent – communicates their values and ‘walks the talk’
•    Creative – able to think laterally and ‘outside of the box’
•    Interpersonally skilled – at influencing others
•    Strategic – able to take the long-term view
•    Kind – sensitive to others and shows care for them
•    Fair – treats people equally, not prejudiced or partial
•    Resilient – in the face of difficulties
•    Considered – rather than reactive, in making judgements

Connor & Pokora also give the following examples of possible roles of the coach:
•    Supporter – a confidential respectful listener who does not judge or evaluate
•    Challenger – helps the client to challenge themselves, and offers empathic challenge
•    Sounding Board – helps the client to explore ‘half baked’ ideas and thoughts
•    Networker – helps the client to identify key connections and develop relationships
•    Coach – helps the client to develop skills and confidence
•    Role model – has qualities or attributes to which the client aspires
•    Critical friend – offers constructive feedback
•    Strategist – helps the client to look at the broad picture and think long term
•    Catalyst – helps the client to develop new perspectives and harness their creativity

Next steps?
For more information, why not give us a call here at British School of Coaching – we will be delighted to provide guidance and support.

Martin Hill LL.B (Hons), FCMI, FInstLM, FISQC, MAC, EMCC Member, Coach and Coach Supervisor
Director for ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring Programme