Coaching is a collaborative, goal-orientated relationship that focuses on boosting a client’s wellbeing. It uses positive psychological techniques to harness a client’s own personal qualities and resources. Coaching does not involve giving advice. Rather, it focuses on a client’s own personal qualities, skills, and resources, and cultivates the client’s own ability to solve problems and find solutions. Coaching also focuses on the individual. It is person-centred, which means that clients set goals that are personal to them.
It is important to remember that coaching is not offering advice, or telling the client how to live their life. It is also not counselling, although it does share some of the same principles, and it is different to consulting and mentoring too. Coaching focuses on the client. It is about the client setting their own goals, and planning how to achieve these goals. It helps the client focus on what is achievable to them, as well as helping them focus on their own beliefs and values. Many people are influenced by the values and beliefs of others; whether that is social norms, peer pressure, family influence etc. and coaching helps challenge those beliefs to reveal what the client truly believes about the world.
Coaching is also holistic. Holistic basically means that it encompasses the whole self (mind, body, and soul). Coaching can focus on one aspect of the client, but often looks at the whole person, realising that each part is inter-connected. It helps the client believe in themselves. Coaches should be positive, but realistic. It is important that the client feels valued and validated, and that no goal is seen as too extreme, unless it is unrealistic or irrelevant. The important thing is that the client has to feel like they can achieve their goals and that they have the ability to do so.
Coaching can be used anywhere. Many coaches work with employees in large organisations, but anyone can see a coach. No goal is too big or too small. Coaches will generally be found in large organisations and many private corporations have coaches run events for their staff or provide one to one coaching. Public sector organisations will often have coaching for staff but this tends to be on a referral basis. Coaches work across sectors; they are also found working in charities with both the staff and the service users that access their support. They can be found in schools and universities, working with students who may be struggling. Overall, coaches work where there is a need. Coaches can offer a range of services; meaning those that typically would not be able to access their office can still benefit from their support. A good coach can work remotely with individuals by offering online or telephone services, and some offer e-mail coaching. Many coaches will move on from solely one to one coaching and begin to run workshops for individuals that would like to learn more about coaching principles.