Coaching is training or development in which a person called a coach supports a learner in achieving a specific personal or professional goal. Coaching is something that parents, teachers, tutors, managers, consultants and board members do day-to-day when they invest time in improving other people’s performance.
There are a couple fundamental differences between coaching and teaching: teaching refers to explaining new ideas to people and coaching refers more to the application and practicing of those new ideas. Teaching tends to occur through telling (writing and speaking) and showing (training and mentoring), while coaching involves more asking, discussing and testing to facilitate and validate understanding and competency.
Professional coaching is provided by a professional coach: someone who has been specifically trained in coaching skills and attained a high level of competence. They are primarily engaged in coaching as their main paid occupation, rather than as an amateur.
One simple way to think and talk about the difference is to refer to small “c” coaching / coach vs capital “C” Coaching / Coach. This can help distinguish the informal coaching that most of us do as coaches in our various roles in life from the more formal Coaching that a Professional Coach provides to their clients, or coaches.
Currently, there are two major branches of Professional Coaching: business and personal.Each type have their own subspecialties that go by different names:
- Personal Coaching: Life / Success / Spiritual / Relationship / Parent / Career Coaching
- Business Coaching: Executive / Corporate / Management / Leadership Coaching
Defining the Two Major Branches of Professional Coaching
The challenge in Coaching is that even when a Professional Coach is hired to help a business executive improve the performance of their company, the coaching will inevitably focus on the person. In reality, the “business” doesn’t attend the coaching sessions, the executive does.
Personal Coaches usually work with a wide range of individuals on an array of inter and intra- personal issues:
- Coping with a specific problem or crisis
- Focusing their energy
- Achieving their dreams
- Making career transitions
- Living happier and more fulfilling lives
- Overcoming conflict
- Enhancing their communication skills
- Identifying and achieving goals
- Building better relationships
It should be noted that not everyone will have a professional connection, but they can still benefit from the experience. For example, not all clients will be connected to a business, and their careers may not be the focus of the coaching. On the other hand, Career Coaching has a professional connection the majority of the time.
Business Coaches welcome the opportunity to work with a variety of business professionals:
Businesses usually deal with a variety of issues, and Business Coaches are equipped to assist with the following challenges:
- Leadership development
- Increasing employee motivation
- Organisational design and development
- Strategy formulation and execution
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Overcoming sales and marketing challenges
- Change (management issues)
- Career advancement
- Succession planning
- Effective communication skills
- Time management
- Personal and team productivity
- Team building
- Management training
Business Coaching is well equipped to help people in any size business and at any stage of the business development lifecycle learn how to overcome any obstacles and challenges they face.
Business Coaching is beneficial to the coachee, and by extension, benefits the business as well. Other stakeholders who can indirectly benefit include employees, managers, shareholders, customers and suppliers.
There are times when the benefits are less tangible and may not immediately appear in the “bottom line,” but they still make a positive impact. Examples of less tangible benefits are more effective communication, better planning, faster conflict resolution and less stress.
Some common tangible results include increased sales, reduced expenses, improved profit and lower staff turnover.
How to Hire the Right Business Coach
The most effective Business Coaching is delivered by Professional Coaches who have mastered both the discipline and practice of business management. This typically requires:
- University level training (such as an MBA)
- Real world experience (such as CEO / MD / Board positions and / or management consulting roles)
- Professional development (formal coach training and mentoring in the international core competencies of professional coaching)
The clearer you are about what you want to achieve through Professional Coaching, the easier it will be to create the right fit.
There are three key factors that can be defined when setting up the coaching contract or agreement. These three factors are:
- Business results that leaders must achieve
- Leadership behaviors that leaders must exhibit
- Team communication and staff dynamics required to achieve desired results
Taking The Next Step
Most Professional Coaches offer an initial consultation at no cost or obligation. This assessment is designed to help you understand what we do and to help you decide what kind of Coach and Coaching is right for you.
Enjoy your coaching journey! It’s a deeply rewarding and fulfilling experience, to have your development fast-tracked by a Professional Coach with whom you find the right chemistry.
Some Case Studies of Our Clients
Would you like to understand more about the kinds of things people achieve through Professional Coaching with nLIVEn?
Learn More About Coaching
If you enjoyed Coaching 101, continue learning about coaching in the next articles in this series, “Coaching 202 – Understanding the three kinds of Professional Coaching” and “Coaching 303 – Coaching The Executive”.
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