‘The power to question is the basis of all human progress.‘
Before I started training to be a coach, I don’t think I truly knew what a coach was.
I assumed they were a) glossy and b) knew best and c) told people what to do.
Turns out coaches may have glossy locks, (or they may not), but they definitively don’t know best about anyone but themselves, nor do they tell people what to do.
When I say coach, I mean something with internationally recognised qualifications, like those from the International Coaching Federation, through whom I’m certified. It might be a life coach, a business coach, or a divorce coach, I soon learned that a qualified coach will use the same evidence-based approach to help their clients make progress.
Now, fully qualified and a full-time coach, I am evangelical about coaching. I’ll wax lyrical at the drop of the hat and enthuse to anyone who will listen. Coaching is basically MAGIC. Whether you’re an individual or an organisation, it’s invaluable for anyone who wants to feel better, do better, do more, be accountable and live their best personal and professional life.
Some coaching statistics:
- 99% of individuals and companies who hire a coach are “satisfied or very satisfied” and 96% say they would repeat the process. (ICF Global Coaching Client Study)
- 68% of individuals who hired coaches were able to make back their investment. Those who make a financial gain on their coaching can on average expect 3.44 times the amount spent. (2009 ICF Global Coaching Study)
- 86% of companies that could calculate their return on investment said that they at least made back their initial investment. 19% indicated an ROI of 50x the investment. 28% saw an ROI of 10-49x the investment. The median ROI is 7x the investment. (2009 ICF Global Coaching Study)
- In one peer-reviewed study, coaching for performance was shown to have a 221% ROI. (Phillips, J.J., (2007) Measuring the ROI of a coaching intervention, Part 2. Performance Improvement).
- The field of executive coaching has exploded over the past decade in the both US and UK. Now coaching skills are taught in business schools and coaching is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. In 2019 the estimated global revenue from coaching was 849 billion USD. (2020 ICF Global Coaching Study)
What coaching is
The premise of coaching is that usually the brain which has a problem, will also contain the solution to it, often the best one, provided it has the right conditions in which to find it.
Coaching is a structured, focused conversation between the Coach and the Client. It is a tool that is used to empower individuals and to foster the best in them, while helping them reach their personal or professional goals.
During a coaching session, your coach will walk by your side to help you to reach your ultimate goal and aspirations. They will listen carefully to you, ask incisive questions, find out what your challenges are and inspire you to reach that end goal. You will be encouraged to find your own solutions, make decisions, and take responsibility for these decisions.
Coaches will often be trained in a variety of evidence-based disciplines. As well as listening and asking questions they may also share strategies, tools and techniques in order to promote desirable and sustainable change for the benefit of the client. In my coaching, there is a lot of Positive Psychology, but I also use approaches from neuroscience, somatics and transactional analysis.
What coaching is not
Unlike mentoring or consulting, pure coaching is not about giving advice or suggestions. Although coaching may be combined with mentoring, pure coaching emphasises supporting the client to discover their own answers and unique, aligned journey.
Coaching is solution focused but it is not counselling or therapy. Within a coaching environment a client might find themselves revisiting their past, but unlike counselling or therapy, they will not dwell there. We go back, but only with a view to take what we need to move forward towards our agreed goals.
Why it’s so brilliant
You may think just sitting and having a chat doesn’t sound that powerful, but it is!
It gives you space and support to think effectively
Life is so busy and so full of demands, that it often feels impossible to find space to think properly.
In Time To Think, Listening to ignite the huma mind by Nancy Kline, she explains that to really do our best thinking, we need an appropriate ‘Thinking Environment.’ By this Kline means we need to be really attentively listened to in order to do our own best thinking … and this happens so infrequently in life.
How many times a day do you feel you are you really listened to? All too often you’ll realise that people look like they’re listening, but they’re thinking about what they want to say next, or they’re interrupting or finishing your sentences. They want to tell you what they think you should do, bring it back to themselves by sharing their experience of something similar, or even change the subject.
When a coach actively listens, they’re not just listening to the words that you use. They’re fully present with their client. They’re paying attention to the words that you choose, the way you say them, what you say and don’t say… and what your body is communicating, too.
Through reflecting back what they see, sharing observations and asking thoughtful questions, a coach will support you to gain a deeper sense of self-awareness about what you believe, what you feel, what you need, what you want and what might be holding you back from getting there.
It goes deep
As humans we live and think fast, often by default. We operate from cognitive shortcuts that are well honed and may or may not have served us well in the past. We don’t often have opportunity to think deeply about who we are and whether our decisions and actions today are in alignment with our authentic self or indeed, our ideal self.
Coaching helps people gently peel back the layers of these cognitive shortcuts, to go beneath our surface assumptions or defences, to get to the deeper places of understanding which lie closer to the truth. It helps clients realise their talents, their abilities and their unique strengths, to become more of who they already are.
Coaching can help you set goals and make commitments to new and meaningful actions, in your personal or professional life. On an individual level, it leads to greater self-awareness, self-confidence and self-leadership. In a business or executive context, it leads to greater leadership skills and more effective functioning at work.
In conclusion, hopefully you can see now how powerful coaching can be and how it works. Just have a quick read over the testimonials on my site to see what this process can look like if you’re a busy freelancer or founder.
If you’re interested in discussing how I can help you, please book a free right fit call here.