People on bus“Coaching is something that happens to other people.” That’s what I hear people say at time and it really confuses me. Firstly, coaching is never something that happens to someone. It’s about working together to achieve a goal, a goal that may not be that clear at the beginning. Secondly, the notion that coaching is only for ‘other people’, i.e. not them suggests that only people with problems work with a coach. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Successful people have always worked with others. The label coach gets used often, as does mentor, advisor and many others. In many cases coaches will carry out a combination of roles but never cross the line of taking the responsibility for what is done by the client – it’s always the client’s work.

Your coach won’t criticize your wacky ideas but they will question you on them. How you decide to answer will help you weed out the truly barking ideas and leave you with the risks worth taking.

As human beings we have doubts, worries and concerns over many things – it’s only natural. Often it’s difficult to talk with colleagues, friends or family yet a professional coach will always maintain absolute confidence in all that is discussed during coaching sessions. That’s not the reason you would choose to work with a coach but it’s one of the benefits in doing so.

Not everyone who works with a coach will tell others about it. Many want to let others think that they did it all by themselves. The truth is that they did. A coach doesn’t do the work for their client, they facilitate their client’s thought processes and provide a non judgmental sounding board.

Coaching can’t provide solutions to each and every problem, in fact it can’t provide a solution to anything. Coaching facilitates the thinking of clients so that they can work out their own solutions for themselves.

I’ve decided to put out a few articles on what coaching is about, as I see it from my experience. I hope these will be of use for those new to coaching, either as a coach themselves or as a prospective client of a coach. Do let me know what you think and if there are any specific areas of coaching you would like me to cover.

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© Paul Slater and Reflect & Lead, 2015.