What is coaching


What is coaching?

Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training, advice and guidance.

ICF (International Coach Federation) defines “Coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.”

What Does a Coach Do?

A coach creates a safe environment in which people see themselves more clearly; the coach does this by listening, asking focused questions, reflecting back, challenging, and acknowledging the client; asks for more intentional thought, action, and behavior changes than the client would have asked of him or herself.

A coach may not have answers to all your problems and may not give prescriptive solutions, but helps you to see the issue from multiple perspectives and brings out your innate wisdom to solve your problems.

A coach helps you in many ways:

  • Identifies gaps between where you are and where you need or want to be. Clarifies goals and agreed-upon results.
  • Helps you develop a strong strategy and action plan to close the gap
  • Understands and anticipates potential obstacles
  • Guides the building of the structure, accountability, and support necessary to ensure sustained commitment.

What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

A mentor is one who has expertise, experience and wisdom in certain areas and whom you can turn to for advises. A mentor may also function as a coach and facilitate accomplishment of your specific goals.  A coach creates a safe environment in which people see themselves more clearly; the coach does this by listening, asking focused questions, reflecting back, challenging, and acknowledging the client.

Mentoring offers high-level guidance for long-term development, whereas coaching helps you improve immediately.

More on what you can expect from coaching and mentoring.

Are all people coachable?

People who are committed to achieve their goals are coachable. Blamers, victims, and individuals with iron-clad belief systems may not change and coaching may not help. Issues that have deep-rooted psychological problems, which only psychotherapy can fix, are beyond the scope of coaching. Candidates, who have a strong desire to learn and grow, get the most out of coaching.

What is the coaching process at CMentor?

CMentor is the service name for coaching & mentoring from CXO Dashboards, to differentiate it from its consulting service.

The first step in the coaching process is an introductory session or a strategy session. Here you highlight what is that you are looking for, your challenges, and what is the outcome you want to have. The coach will then explain the coaching approach to address the challenge. If you like the solution, approach, and the coach’s interactions, you express your desire to be coached. At the same time, coach will also asses, if you are coachable and are committed to its success. The discussions will also clarify the coaching type most appropriate for you, the number of sessions, duration, payment terms and the expectations from you. You can also clarify any other questions you may have. The first coaching session (strategy session) that takes about 30 minutes, is usually free.  After experiencing the first coaching session, you can decide, to go ahead or not with the coaching.

Once you decide to take up coaching, a charter is prepared that gives the scope, approach and the terms. Coaching sessions will be conducted as per the schedule agreed. Mostly there will be weekly sessions of about 30 to 50 minutes.

Each coaching session will start with clarifying the agenda for the session and review of the progress made. Each coaching session will be a series of conversations on the current challenges and the possible solutions. Coach will be asking a number of questions that will bring client’s own insights and solutions to the problem. The action items planned will be summarized, at the end of each session. Accountability for taking action items lie with the clients, but coach will give effective follow up support.

During coaching conversations, coach will normally avoid giving advises or prescriptive suggestions, instead, will draw out insights and solutions from the client.

Coaching assignment will normally come to end on accomplishment of the goal or completion of the number of coaching sessions planned and may not go beyond the end date given in the charter. Clients may renew the coaching charter, if coaching is required for addressing new challenges.

If coaching is not progressing as planned and no remedial action working, and if any party wants to discontinue coaching, that is possible without any negative consequences.

The primary coaching approach is GROW model and the tool for Results Management is ‘Personal Dashboard’. The approach, detailed steps and the tools may vary depending on the type of package chosen, type of issues to be addressed, and the special needs of clients. The details will be conveyed during the strategy session.

The usual mode of coaching is one-on-one over calls. However retreat mode (one or two days at a stretch) and group mode (if a group is having similar challenges or goals) can also be considered.

Is coaching affordable?

In general, 1-on-1 coaching is costlier than training because coaching requires more effort and time. However the impact is far more, since you are learning on-the-job while you work towards accomplishing your goals. Unlike training that gives you a lot of information, coaching is based on insights. Some issues are symptoms of deep rooted problems and may not be solvable just by self-study; you may need an expert’s help or advice at critical times.

So affordability needs to be looked at, after knowing the consequences of not achieving the results you want. For example, what is the consequence of stagnating in the current role or living permanently with fear of job loss? What if, if you could make a career leap.

It is observed that great professionals won’t mind spending about 3% of their income on self-development. If you could spend about 1 to 2% on coaching, that is good enough to avail mentoring/coaching service that will 1) get you out of a major problem, or 2) help you to accomplish a significant goal or 3) help you to develop a critical skill.