What is coaching and what are its advantages?

Coaching can be different things to different people.  Some people just need a sounding board or an impartial, non-judgmental listener. Other people want or need more.  They want to advance in their career, transition to another area or understand more about how organizational dynamics work.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have learned how to manage relationships.  On occasion an individual needs remedial education.

According to Wikipedia, “coaching, with a professional coach, is the practice of supporting an individual through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result. The structures, models and methodologies of coaching are numerous but are predominantly facilitating in style; that is the coach mainly asks questions and challenges the coachee to find answers from within himself/herself based on their values, preferences and unique perspective.”

Having a coach is like having a compass. Some people can do without it, but it helps you from getting lost, and surely helps you get back on course when you’ve lost your bearings. Coaches can play a variety of roles. S/he can help you continue on your current path, change your direction and/or see what’s missing – not necessarily what’s wrong – that would make a difference. Like adding a favorite spice to chili coaching adds in what’s missing that can make all the difference.

You might ask, ‘Why do I need a coach? I’m thriving in my field’ or’ I work alone’. What athlete or performing artist doesn’t continue to be coached throughout his/her career? Michael Jordan had a coach. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.

Coaching is not therapy. Coaching is for healthy people and looks forward. Traditionally therapy or counseling looks backwards at events and conversations to help identify the source of and to address past and present patterns.