You are coaching or being coached

Two weeks ago, I received an email with this phrase: “If you’d like me to coach you to confidence and self-belief, reply to this email and let’s talk”. This had made me think about the essence of coaching and the talents of coaches. I don’t need coaching on confidence and self-belief; but, perhaps, in some areas. There is always room for improvement, and I’m perfectly imperfect.

What is coaching? Cambridge Dictionary defines coaching (UK – kəʊ.tʃɪŋ/ US -ˈkoʊ.tʃɪŋ) as

“the act of giving special classes in sports, a school subject, or a work-related activity, especially to one person or a small group” (Reference).

Collins English Dictionary’s definition of it includes

“training staff in business or office practice” and “giving a person special teaching in a particular subject” (HarperCollins Publishers (reference).

When I was young, I associated coaching only with sports. I have since changed my understanding of it. Coaching applies in every professional and personal area and in every aspect of one’s life.

According to the International Coaching Community, coaching should help a person change how they wish and go in the direction they want, supporting them at every level in becoming who they want to be, and building awareness that empowers choice and leads to change. This is the definition that I relate to. My ex-colleague has converted into a wellness coach. She is not an expert in her clients’ field of work and does not transfer knowledge and skills, unlike when she was teaching English, but helps them cope with their personal and professional challenges. When she speaks about her newfound profession, her eyes glitter. Is it because of money?

With an annual salary of AUD 1,511,895.60, Ravi Shastri of India is the highest-paid cricket coach (source). Diego Simeone is the highest-paid football coach (US $50 million with a current net worth of US $130 million (source). Non-sports coaches, however, earn anywhere from 20 euros an hour to … The rest of us are unpaid coaches. We help family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, neighbours and friends of friends change in the way they wish, supporting them at every level in becoming who they want to be.

Should you spend money for academic, business, finance, professional, or relationship coaching? That depends on several factors. I think the answer is no if it is just a way to feel like you’re doing something about a problem that you can solve on your own. Wouldn’t you rather find time to figure out what and how you want things should be? Unless your goal is to fully optimise an area of your life (e.g. financial investment) or you are passionate about improvement (e.g. more healthy and fit), you might not need a paid coach.

On the other hand, if you decide to have one, remember that you won’t get value for money, even how good the coach is if you don’t have any direction or a clear understanding of the intended outcome. As such, define your desires, goals and ideas before you engage a coach.

“Who, exactly, seeks out a coach? If you ask a coach, the answer is usually the same: Winners who want even more out of life”. – Abigail Pickus (seen in this article by Kelly Miller).

Like most professions, there are good and bad coaches. Like most services, there are trade-offs and downsides in coaching. It’s for you to do the weighing.

Either you’re a paid or unpaid coach or being coached, keep in mind:

  1. The goal is not to solve a specific problem

    The purpose of coaching is not to fix problems. Therefore, avoid providing a solution before hearing the views of the person being coached.
  2. Manipulation has no place in coaching

    Nudging the person being coached to come to the same conclusion as the coach by asking condescending and obnoxious questions is unethical.
  3. Avoid interruption and distraction

    Interruption and distraction can sweep away vital information. Silence is part of communication and can encourage the person to think more profoundly about the issue at stake. Do not be in a noisy or messy place as it is not conducive for coaching.
  4. Be patient

    A coaching process is longer than seeing a physiotherapist or dentist. It is about building self-belief, which takes time and patience.
“Good coaching is good teaching and nothing else.” – Pat Conroy (seen in this article by Veronica Krieg).

(This article also appears on my website Rolade Societal Blog - roladesocietalblog.com)

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