Coaching is an interactive process that helps people to identify and establish objectives. It is a conversation that takes place between individuals or teams and their coach, to help them develop skills, make improvements in their performance or to set goals for the future. Coaching, unlike mentoring is not about teaching or telling; it is a collaborative, supportive process. After an initial session, follow up appointments are arranged to review and monitor progress and modify action steps where necessary.

Types of coaching

Many of us are familiar with the term ‘life coaching’, but coaching is used in many different settings. Entrepreneurs may use a business or marketing coach, sports people may work with a performance coach, individuals wanting to improve their health may recruit a wellbeing coach and couples whose relationship could be improved may consult a couples coach. Coaching is viewed as an acceptable development tool in environments where therapy or counselling might be unnecessary or inappropriate.

Coaching in the workplace

In the corporate world coaching is often a part of normal working practice. Teams may be coached to increase performance or to reach targets. Employees may have one-to-one coaching to help them achieve their career potential, to manage change or to improve personal wellbeing. Coaching in the workplace is usually viewed in a very positive way by both management and staff. Investment in coaching generally results in a happier, more productive workforce as personnel feel appreciated and valued.

The benefits of coaching

Almost anyone can benefit from coaching; from the MD of a large corporation to an individual considering career change, or a young person wanting to improve their tennis. The important thing to remember is that coaching isn’t instruction or tuition. Coaching isn’t therapy and doesn’t focus on issues; it’s about helping people to achieve their potential. Does being a coach appeal to you?

By Lorraine McReight