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The True Nature of Coaching: Part 1

Most people these days are familiar with coaching in one context or another. At the very least, you're familiar with coaching in sports.

If you've been in business or professional circles, you've also probably heard of life, career or business coaching, but what is coaching, really? There are many common misconceptions. Below are some of them.

Some people believe that coaching is:

  • giving advice on how to do something better
  • a motivational speech or pep talk to an individual or a team so they can win the championship
  • a form of hand holding for when someone is going through a time of distress or challenge, i.e. a way to boost someone up after life has beaten them down
  • another name for counseling or therapy in which the client is guided to express their feelings about the past and thereby resolve the blocks and issues in their life.

The truth is that these things have little to do with what coaching is about. Over the years, I've learned that few people really understand what coaching is about and this even includes people who use the term quite a bit. My aim here is to clarify the true nature, depth and power of the coaching relationship. 


If you've ever spoken to someone whose life has changed from utilizing a coach, you have some idea what I'm speaking about.

Here's the bottom line: If you want to create an extraordinary life and achieve your full potential, utilizing a skilled coach is a virtual necessity. You will soon discover is that coaching is far more accessible and affordable than you might have believed.


Empowerment
Before we can capture the essence of coaching, we need to introduce and define the term empowerment. What does it mean to empower someone? Unfortunately, you will not get very far looking up this word in dictionary because dictionary definitions of this term tend to be about 200 years out of date. Here's our working definition.

To Empower is to spark or ignite (as a catalyst) a person's own power so they can be, do or have whatever they want in their life. Empowerment has the effect of naturally activating a person's already existing resourcefulness, creativity, skill and confidence.

Empowerment is very different from helping, saving or rescuing. In a relationship of empowerment, the guide or coach is acting as a catalyst, a partner in discovery, a compassionate, non judgemental friend and a committed listener able to reflect your promises, commitments, values, standards, ideals, beliefs and life vision. They guide you to make the shifts you want to make.

Empowering relationships can be simple and innocent. They can also be substantive and deep. They are characterized by a foundation of caring, respect and unconditional positive regard.

Please take a moment to reflect on a past or present relationship with this quality. Maybe it was the positive influence of a good friend or teacher. The relationship may have felt special, even pivotal yet it may have seemed to be the result of coincidence. What if... you could create empowering relationships intentionally?

Its possible that the idea of a relationship based on empowerment may be new and will take some to learn and practice. That's okay. The important thing to know is that these skills can be learned and the benefits are very far reaching. In fact, once you have had a taste of what this is like, it is unlikely you'll settle for anything less in the future.

What is Coaching?
Coaching is a dynamic and empowering relationship in which the coach empowers the client to win at whatever games in life they are playing.

I am deliberately using the game metaphor here to make a point. We often have a tendency to get serious about the things that are important to us and in so doing we get a bit heavy. Part of good coaching is helping you lighten up, take things less seriously, and have more fun. As a result, you accomplish more too.

What do I mean by winning? Is there a competition? No! Im using the word winning here to simply represent getting the result or outcome you want. Coaching is result focused. There's a process of growth, but the emphasis is on outcomes.

The desired outcome will vary greatly. For some, it is success with a job, career or business. For others, the focus might be on relationships, family or health or it could also involve changes in emotional patterns, beliefs or spiritual dimensions of life. Coaching can encompass any area and is limited only by what you believe it can be.

How Will Having a Coach be Beneficial?
There are many ways in which a skilled coach can have a profound impact on your life. In part 2 of this blog series, I will share some of the major areas in which coaching relationships have extraordinary impact. By relating these to what is presently happening now, you'll get some clues as to how a coach will be valuable at this time.

Stay tuned and please share!

The True Nature of Coaching: Part 2
The Nature of Breakthroughs
 

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