So what is coaching exactly?

Posted by on Jul 18, 2011 in Career & Money, Family, Health, Lifestyle, Personal Development, Relationships | Comments Off

What is coaching?

Coaching is the practice of supporting, challenging and empowering an individual or group/team through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result via cutting edge strategies and change techniques. It is distinct from training and mentoring, in that the coach/client relationship is one of trust, accountability and responsiveness. Training is teaching an individual or group how to achieve a result by imparting practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies, while mentoring is the process of an expert providing their expertise to less experienced individuals to help them advance their careers, education, and build their networks.

The coach encourages their client to perceive, understand and utilise an extended pool of resources and options to deal with challenges and growth opportunities in specific areas. The coach believes their client has the required resources within themselves to reach any desired outcome, and so the coach works with their client to bring those resources out. This results in an independent individual who can take their learnings and apply them to other contexts and situations in their life. Coaching occurs in fields such as Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Executive Coaching, Health Coaching, Relationship Coaching, Success Coaching, Conflict Resolution Coaching, Financial Coaching and Sports Coaching, to name but a few.

How does it differ from counselling and therapy?

Coaching differs enormously from counselling and therapy. While these professions are trained to deal with specific issues of pathology, healing and unresolved psychological issues of the past, coaching is more future-oriented and encourages the client to explore and create options and possibilities to improve their lives going forward. Also, counsellors and therapists are often engaged as a referral from a doctor or other health professional, while coaches are sought out by the client as a proactive move towards achieving specific goals. Counselling and therapy can often take many sessions which can last for many months and sometimes years, while coaching can effect change in a much shorter time. This of course depends upon the working models and competency of the practitioner or coach.

What is a Success Coach?

A Success Coach will provide tools, strategies and learnings to ensure success in whatever aspect of life and experience the client requires. For example, to feel successful, one person may feel they need to have a successful career, while another may need to be financially successful to consider themselves a success. Still another may feel that having a successful marriage or relationship, or successful family relations may be more important, or to be successful with their weight, body image or health in general. The Success Coach is trained to deal with a broad range of fields where success is desired. They have a focus on understanding and steering their client towards successful outcomes that the client has been unable to achieve by other means. By coaching clients towards success, the client will typically find that other areas of life benefit enormously from the changes and strategies implemented in the area being sought.

How long does it take?

Coaching can occur for a single session to effect immediate changes for a client, however it is advised that coaching be viewed much as an elite athlete would view their requirements for performance coaching – that of striving for constant improvement. At the very least,  we recommend coaching programs be undertaken at a minimum of three months, while six to twelve month programs are highly recommended for the very best results and to provide the best value and to create lasting change. The longer the coaching program is followed, the more successes and positive experiences the client can expect to build on, until one day he will awake to find his life has become indistinguishable from what it was before the coaching began!

Can coaching save my marriage?

It is proven that coaching can offer tools, insights and strategies to enhance relationships, build bridges and even to ignite passion when it appears that a relationship has fizzled out. Most people don’t get training on how to have a successful relationship, and so it is no surprise that many relationships end in failure. Successful relationship coaching is no magic bullet, but a serious commitment from the coach and an equally serious commitment from the client to understand relationship dynamics and commit to implementing proven strategies to create successful, passionate relationships is a vital ingredient to success.

How much does it cost?

Considering the results that coaching can deliver, it is a very affordable investment in an individual or team. Most people are reluctant to commit to an investment in themselves and their own success, and yet this success can provide the basis of ongoing financial, emotional, family and individual stability and peace of mind. Most of us think nothing of spending money on cars, mobile phones, clothes, watches, shoes, computers and computer games, and so on, so it may come as a surprise how little most people seem prepared to actually invest in themselves and their success or even their happiness. The cost of coaching can arguably be considered as the greatest asset worth investing in.

Can I have a chat with a coach to decide if it will benefit me and before committing to a program?

This is a great idea, both for the client and the coach. It gives the client a taste of what a coaching session is likely to involve, how they feel about it and their coach, and also gives the coach a sense of how likely the client will be to benefit from a coaching program, since not everyone is suited to coaching. Many coaches offer an initial introductory coaching session for this purpose.


I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference

– Robert Frost

© Copyright Estelle Williams 2011