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What is Coaching Anyway?

The concept of coaching is an interesting one because it’s a word that gets used a lot and there are certainly thousands of coaches in the market, but it's not always clear what it is or what it does!

For this reason people don’t buy ‘coaching’. What they do however, is make a financial investment in a desired outcome, a goal, an aspiration that they want to bring to life but may not be sure how, or have previously struggled to get there.

Others are buying professional support from an individual to help them more clearly define their goals or aspirations, support them with a life change, or shape a loose idea they are excited about, but don’t know where to start. For people feeling stuck, unfulfilled or frustrated, it can be a really helpful way to determine what’s lacking or what is getting in the way so that they can move forwards and make changes. Taking space to think and reflect, creates more ideas and clarity.

Typically, the big things we want in life rarely come easily. The chances are, there is hard work that needs to be done and obstacles along the way. The path will likely be windy and even go back on itself a few times.

I was chatting with my friend the other day who has also recently started her own business. Like most young businesses, it’s liberating and frustrating at the same time.

This same friend comes from an impressive corporate background in HR having worked for a number of Fortune 100 companies, and whether she’s in a corporate or building her own brand in her home office, she has consistently said the same phrase: “I’m in this for the journey, not the destination”.

I bring this up because when I am asked about coaching, or more specifically when I’m asked ‘what is coaching? or ‘what do you coach?’ I feel it helps me provide what I hope to be a helpful answer.

Like the analogy of my friend, coaching supports an individuals’ journey towards a defined destination. It might be quick, or it could take a while depending on how far you’re going, how much you’re willing to put in and the number of bumps in the road. In this case, a coach is there to support, champion, challenge, question and help realign without judgement, without subjective ‘advice’.  It’s about giving yourself the best chance of success in reaching the destination.

For example: ‘what’s getting in your way right now?’, ‘how do you know when you’re making the right progress?’ or ‘what needs to happen next for you to reach the next milestone?’.

Even one small insight, idea or realisation could change your perspective, outlook or actions, delivering significant progression.

As executive coaches, we acknowledge that our clients are smart, resourceful and capable people, typically with big challenges to overcome, decisions to make and busy lives to navigate. The answers often already lie within, they just need help to surface, be considered and acted upon.

The journey versus the destination

5 thoughts to leave you with:

  • Often what we think is the issue or blocker is not the actual issue or blocker; it’s something else masquerading.

  • Most people struggle to articulate what they really want in life.

  • Achieving your goals and aspirations is really hard if you don’t have a clear plan or understand the obstacles you may need to overcome to get there.

  • Focusing and prioritising when we have such busy lives can at times feel impossible.

  • Even short periods of time for reflection and consideration have exponential benefits.

  • Seasoned executives rely on coaching regularly. According to Forbes, coaching increases individual performance up to 70% for individuals and 48% organisationally. 

What would the biggest benefit of a coach be to you or your organisation?

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