Published with permission of author Susanne Knowles, Chair and Founder, Australian Institute of Professional Coaches (AIPC)
In the world of sports, rarely do we find a team or even an individual contestant without a coach – an expert in the field who will help in overseeing the whole situation in order to win. The coach-coachee relationship began in this area around 1950s and then later, because of its significant impact in the world of sports, began to find a voice within the human resource management field in the 1990s.
In 2004, coaching was identified as an area of skilled expertise by the American Society for Training and Development, alongside workplace learning and performance. Nowadays, it is regarded as a valid personal and professional intervention, delivered by coaches within community, business and corporate setting. Professional coaching associations have been established in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States but coaching is still an emerging, growth industry in some parts of the world including Australia.
How is coaching defined?
At the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches, coaching is defined as a process of working with individuals to help them achieve their life goals and create a more positive future. This involves facilitating self-awareness of issues and problems concerning them in their work and/or personal life, or goals to be achieved. It is a supportive and encouraging process that utilises clients’ existing knowledge and strengths to help them understand their current situation, broaden their horizon, be open to other possibilities and lead them towards effective, often creative, solutions to their problems.
This definition clearly signals that coaching is not only behaviourally based but is also aligned with performance improvement and/or goal achievement.
Given the definition, coaching is very helpful for clients who are:
- Lacking in motivation and job satisfaction;
- Feeling unsupported at work;
- Experiencing communication or relationship issues with colleagues or their manager;
- Having difficulties managing their workload;
- Feeling uncertain about their future and how to safeguard their employment prospects;
- Seeking promotion but unsure how to go about this;
- Aiming to achieve work / life balance.
How does coaching work?
The primary focus of coaching is to help clients find ways or solutions to the problems or issues they are facing, and overcoming these problems so that they can achieve their goals, become the person they want to be and live the life they want to live.
Bring about change
Coaches work with clients to bring about the change they desire. To do this, coaches use a variety of communication skills which shift clients’ perspectives, thereby allowing them to discover what it is that’s holding them back and develop their effectiveness by making the changes they want to make but have had difficulty achieving by themselves in the past.
Create a purposeful life
Even though some people appear to be successful, they oftentimes may feel a sense of emptiness inside – as if there is something lacking. Coaching helps clients find out what is important to them and what helps them to create a purposeful life – a life which supports and promotes their values and ideals.
There are different types of coaching for different types of clients such as life, business, leadership, career transition and executive coaching.
Everyone of us needs someone who will encourage us to become a better person, and a coach is definitely that someone. Just remember this quote by lawyer, writer and ethics professor
“A good coach improves a game; a great coach improves a life.”