What Coaching Means to Me

You may be wondering what this coaching thing is & why I'm so excited about it. In my Master’s in Organizational Development & Leadership program, I took an introduction to coaching course. In this class, my professor stated that coaching is based on the underlying assumption that each person is the expert in their own life experience. This assumption spoke volumes to me - of course we are each experts on what has happened to us! How could anyone else know my life better than me?


I believe that people have all the answers and solutions they need - all of the puzzle pieces are laid out on the table in front of them. But sometimes those pieces are upside-down, turned around, or hidden under the dog's paw.


Have you ever had one of those moments when all you can do is rehash the same view of the same story, over and over?


A coach can help shed some light. Often, we benefit from someone else holding up a mirror and helping us see things in a different way. We may not like it (just ask my mother...), but we usually learn something new when we take a step back and look from another perspective.


A coach will work with their client to understand what goal the client is trying to achieve and what is getting in the way of their progress. Coaches ask deep probing questions to help clients see situations from different perspectives and develop solutions. These questions encourage introspection and self-awareness.


What is beautiful about this process is that no one owns the solution but the client.


Accountability is embedded within the coaching process - the coach does not dictate a path forward, only the client can decide what they are or are not willing to commit to. The coach probes, but the client turns the puzzle pieces around and around until they start to fall together and the picture - or solution - begins to emerge.


There is a great model of coaching called the Co-Active Coaching Model which blends collaboration (co-) & action (active). According to this model, the coach and the coachee are equals, joining together to meet the coachee's needs.


I appreciate this model's emphasis on action - without action, or commitment to try a path, what is the point? My goal as a coach is to help you grow, achieve, learn, develop - these all require action! And we get there with collaboration - sharing, questioning, imagining possibilities, and deciding to commit, try, and learn.


I believe that one of the greatest gifts in this world is to have someone who believes in you and supports you, who listens and questions, and encourages you to take ownership and accountability for your actions. It may not always be fun, but it is always worth it in the end.

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