Coaching Guide - How to choose and use coaching
What is Coaching?
Timothy Gallwey in his series of books on “The Inner Game” is very
clear: “Inner Game coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to
maximise their own performance; helping them to learn rather than
teaching them”. And
Sir John Whitmore in “Coaching for Performance”, probably the best
single book available about coaching, says that “building awareness,
responsibility and self-belief is the goal of a coach”.
in Leadership Connections endorse these thoughts. Unfortunately, agreement among practicing coaches, and
particularly coaching organisations, is less than complete. So we have laid out here some expanded thoughts which will give
more depth and colour to our coaching beliefs and practice.
define coaching at four levels;
First, coaching is a belief
system; coaches start from a position of believing that people
have the ability to address and resolve their own issues if they can
approach them in the right mental state.
Second, coaching is a
leadership style, which seeks to keep ownership of issues and
problems with the individual responsible for their resolution.
Third, coaching is underpinned by
a set of tools and models
(for example the GROW problem solving model).
- Fourth, there exists a coaching
skill-set which, skilfully deployed, can support coachees through
the coaching experience
What does it look like?
it’s simplest, coaching is a one-to-one relationship in which the
coach supports the coachee to identify, focus on, and achieve what is
important to them. The principles of coaching can also be extended to
the development of teams, to a leadership style and even as a way to
change the culture of an organisation.
a 1:1 setting, through a series of conversations, the coach helps the
coachee to explore their personal and career vision and goals, their
current situation and the changes they want to make, the actions they
want to take to make the changes and their experience and learning
from those actions.
tackling these areas the coach will also help the coachees to be; more
aware of him / herself and their impact on others, willing to take
responsibility for and able to respond to the situation, able to learn
from their experience and more self motivated.
Whilst there are a number of applications of coaching, one thing that
is vital for any good coach or successful coaching programme is
confidentiality. For it to work effectively, individuals must be able
to speak freely and trust that anything they say will be treated with
absolute confidence. Any good coach will make this very clear in the
When is it useful?
Coaching is most useful for individuals when they are: formulating a
business, career or personal strategy, in transition from one role to
another, building a new skill or resolving a dilemma.
Coaching can also help individuals to transform their personal
performance, help new teams to reach peak performance quickly or help
established teams to improve their effectiveness, or shape a cultural
shift in organisations seeking to move to more responsive, committed,
flexible, open ways of working.
Coaching works best when the client/s wants to be coached rather than
when they think they need to be coached or, worse, when someone else
tells them they have to.
Some common misconceptions
Coaches solve their coachees’ problems for them - They apply their coaching expertise and attend to the coaching
process while coachees address the content of their issues.
Coaching is a “soft option”. - True coaching will challenge your perceptions of your role and
behaviour and hold you to account on delivering the actions you commit
Coaching is a way to ‘fix’ people - Our experience is that those who benefit most from a coaching
relationship are those who want to make some changes in the way they
operate. This can be good performers who have the potential to be
great as well as people with challenges who wish to resolve them.
Individuals who are ‘subjected to’ coaching for remedial purposes are
much more difficult to help, and if they are resistant, then progress
may not be made at all.
Coaching is a substitute for good management. - Good coaches work in partnership with line managers and
encourage the development of their coaching capabilities.
The easiest way to understand how we can help, and whether you
feel that you could work with us, is to begin with a conversation.
We don't believe in a "hard sell" and often find that people get
value out of the exploratory discussion - whether or not we go on
to work together.
Please Contact Us – we would love to
hear from you.