What is Coaching?

The International Coach Federation defines coaching as a process in which a coach partners with a client in a “thought-provoking and creative process that inspires the client to maximize his/her personal and professional potential”.

The role of the coach is that of “guide” and “awakener”. The coach helps the client to understand how s/he interprets the world and how this interpretation influences his/her choices and relationships with “self” and others. This process of reflection provides the basis for exploring new possibilities around interpreting and interacting in the world. At a practical level, this means that the coach works with her/his clients to identify, prioritise, creatively problem-solve and implement choices around achieving their goals.

What is integral coaching?

Integral coaching views the client holistically as a human being. Some coaching approaches concentrate on the client’s behaviour and action in the workplace, whereas integral coaching recognises that our behaviour is underpinned by how we interpret the world around us. Our thoughts, emotions, the language we use and the way we carry ourselves in our bodies, all impact fundamentally on how we address life’s daily challenges.

Integral coaching works with all of these different aspects of the person’s “Way of Being” where the coach helps the client to see what s/he is not seeing in the different aspects of his/her life and its impact on her/his thoughts, feelings and behaviour. From this place of deeper understanding and insight, an integral coach works with the client to explore possibilities to respond differently to people and situations. The focus on the “whole person” means that shifts made by the client will inevitably be more meaningful and sustainable than would be the case if it were the “performance”, the “behaviour” or the “problem” which was being coached.

What does coaching produce?

Coaching seeks to produce the following outcomes:

  • Long term excellent performance – the coach and the client agree on coaching outcomes that are objective and observable;
  • Self-correction – well coached clients can observe when they are performing effectively, when they are not, and make the necessary adjustments to get themselves “back on track”. This enables the client to become independent of the coach.
  • Self-generation – a well coached client will have developed the capacity to find ways of improving his/her performance without the coach.

While each coaching process seeks to achieve these outcomes, the actual coaching process is designed in response to the specific needs and uniqueness of each client.

What role can coaching play in business?

Business can derive significant benefit where Executives, Senior Managers and key members of staff have the opportunity to be coached. This includes:

  • Improved individual performance, reflected in increased productivity and quality of work;
  • Less conflictual relationships;
  • Alignment of individual development to organisational objectives;
  • A meaningful exploration of the person’s sense of fulfilment and job satisfaction; and
  • Development of the self-awareness, competence and leadership capacity necessary to progress into Senior Management and Executive positions within business.

When is coaching appropriate?

Coaching can only take place where there is an “opening” for coaching. A genuine commitment to the coaching process requires not only the desire to grow and develop, but also an openness to new thoughts, feelings and possibilities.

A coaching process may be triggered by a performance assessment, the need for new skills, business need or in response to questions around living a life of greater meaning and purpose.

 What does the coaching process entail?

Ten to twelve one-on-one sessions conducted over a period of six to twelve months (where sessions are generally between an hour and an hour-and-a-half in duration);

  • An exploration of the client’s current situation;
  • The identification of outcomes the client would like to achieve through the coaching programme and the competencies that s/he would need to build; and
  • The co-creation of a coaching programme in which the coach and client work together towards their achievement of the agreed outcomes.

The coach does not give advice or make suggestions but works in partnership with the client using techniques such as open questions, self-observations and practices which enable the client to develop insight into his/her “Way of Being” and discover new possibilities for action.