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What is the ICF definition of coaching?
Coaching is a response to the need to be constantly more productive in today’s competitive society. It is an interactive development process which, through asking the right questions and active listening, helps clients to realise their potential, achieve goals, improve performance and develop better relationships.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF Coaching Works) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a client-driven process that’s distinct from other service professions, such as counseling, mentoring, consulting and training”.
Coaching focuses on the client with the assumption that they are resourceful and whole: they are able to find answers, make decisions and take actions. They are experts on their own life and are capable of learning, and it is the client who takes responsibility for the outcomes. (Kimsey-House et al, 2018, p. 4)
What has caused the growth in demand for coaching?
Up to the 1950s, the roles of a man and a woman were clearly defined. The life values and directions were provided by the society and the religion: majority of people didn’t spend much time wondering about their life purpose, fulfillment or enlightenment.
With the sexual revolution in the 1960s, the traditional modes were challenged. The government and religions guidance and directions weren’t enough: the New Age brought in eastern philosophies, meditation, occult, and different sects and gurus. A man started questioning the life roles and values, and look for more in life than “a 9 to 5 job” and a little house in the suburbs. With the development of technologies the living standards and work conditions have changed significantly: life became more complex and the old support systems were no longer sufficient. People became less willing to seek the advice of religious leaders, elders or politicians. (Kirk, 2018)
In the late 1980s Thomas J. Leonard, a financial advisor, noticed the need for a more holistic approach to consulting. He created the foundations of the life coaching: he established the International Coach Federation (ICF), a nonprofit global professional organization of personal and business coaches, in 1995 (Positive Success Group).
Over the years coaching has proven to have a positive impact on personal life and business performance. The coaching business has been growing rapidly: the ICF had more than 200 coaches hold and ICF Credentials in 1999. From 2000 ICF grew an average of 130 new members per month to reach 25,000 credential-holders and 1,000 Master Certified Coaches in 2018 (International Coaching Federation, 2019).
Coaching continues to grow and its skills have become a part of the corporate culture now since it was noticed and accepted by business in the mid-90s. “(…)a growing number of individuals and organizations have adopted coaching, the use of coaching skills and approaches has expanded beyond professionally trained coach practitioners to include managers, leaders, and human resources and talent development professionals who apply these competencies in their daily workplace interactions” (ICF 2016 Global Coaching Study).
There is a higher demand for coaching in business as it has not only increased employee satisfaction and performance but also it has a positive effect on the revenue. According to a study conducted by MetrixGlobal LLC, coaching has produced 788% return on investment, $7.90 for every $1 spent on coaching (Anderson, 2001).
What are the key reasons that clients choose coaching today?
We have higher expectations, some are our own ambitions, some are forced on us by society. We hear we should look better, be fitter, healthier, smarter, more successful. From the moment they are born children are told they are special, unique, that they can be anything they want to be, that they should reach the sky and dream big. As liberating as it may sound it actually puts huge pressure on us to do more, to prove ourselves, to achieve more, to compete. Laura Woods (n.d) says: “As people’s lives become increasingly complex, they often need a little help staying on the right path. A life coach serves as a person clients can rely on for advice and guidance toward meeting their goals. Once a little-known position, this career path has experienced significant growth in recent years and is now an established and respected occupation.”
Coaching provides a safe space to explore dreams, goals, and challenges but it also helps us understand ourselves better, see what it is we really want for ourselves. A coach can help with improving performance, building better relationships, creating healthy habits.
In Global Customer Awareness Study performed in 2017 by ICF people who participated in coaching reported improvements in areas like communication skills, self-esteem, productivity.
(source: 2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study http://becomea.coach/)
Prema Srinivasan (2015) names a better relationship with the loved ones No. 1 reason why individuals seek coaching today: when they stop blaming the circumstances and other people for their failure, learn how to take control and create A meaningful life, they develop a better, positive outlook and no longer expect others to support them, in the result the relationships improve. Free of blame and guilt the clients start to see and appreciate other people in their life for who they really are.
The Companies hire coaches to develop the capabilities of high-potential performers. To attract talent and stop employee turnaround the business leaders needed to develop people-oriented skills (Coutu, Kauffman, 2009). The leaders and managers who bring in the coaching skills empower their subordinates. When employees are no longer told what to do but are included in a decision making process and finding the solutions, they are more involved, more creative and not afraid to think “outside the box”. In result it creates a culture of openness, respect and resourcefulness and increases employee satisfaction. (Kimsey-House et al, 2018, p. xvii)
As a support intervention, what are the core differentiators that make coaching successful? (Approach, relationship, agenda, ownership, skills)
In the coaching process, the coach and the client are partners: they decide on the purpose, format and expected results of the coaching together. Coaching is a service focusing on the future and the outcome differs significantly from counseling and therapy. Katherine Tulpa, CEO of The Association for Coaching, “ says the difference between coaching and therapy “is that coaching is working from a place of healthy people that actually want to be more successful, have more fulfilment, or seek better performance in business or in life. On the other hand, counselling or therapy tends to help someone through an issue like anxiety or mental-health area.” (Kirk, 2018). Therapy deals with emotional crisis, addictions, mental issues, social phobias, and trauma. The mental health practitioner will diagnose an issue, problem, and offer support and guidance. Unlike coaching, there is no specific timeline in the therapy as this can take from a few months to a couple of years or throughout the whole life time of the individual. During therapy the patient will often reflect on the past experiences, will go back to the trauma to relive it and learn new coping mechanismS.
Coaching can also create new healthy habits and have positive emotional outcomes by assessing the clients “here and now”, their values and belief systems; it makes the clients realise what no longer serves their agenda, what can be changed and how it will lead them to more satisfying results.
Mentoring is a professional “student-master” type of relationship that focuses on the professional growth: a mentor is an expert in a given field and with their help A mentoree develops new skills and gains knowledge. During mentoring a mentor answers questions, offers an advice or solutions . (Starr, 2017, p. 12).
A coach, unlike a mentor, does not have to be an expert. In the coaching process the client is an expert; a coach leads the coachee through self-discovery to finding answers on how they can improve their performance and enables them to take responsibility for their actions.
A consultant is hired when a subject matter or technical solution is required AS they have expert knowledge and experience. It is a short term professional relationship when consultant assesses the client’s situation, forms an opinion and provides tools to solve a problem or creates a plan how to move forward. The client may or may not follow a consultant’s advice. (Forbes Coaches Council, 2018)
A coach assists clients in analysing their challenges focusing their attention on the values and strengths. It is the client who comes up with the answers, sets the goals and creates a plan how to execute. As the client comes with the new ideas or solutions to their problems themselves they are more likely to act accordingly. This will create lasting and more meaningful results for the client . (Forbes Coaches Council, 2018)
Coaching is based on the belief that the client is resourceful and whole, it focuses on the clients’ value systems, their strengths and potential and makes the clients realise what they are capable of virtually achieving if they put their mind on it: this makes coaching the most powerful tool of successful life transformation.
- Anderson M. C. Ph.D, 2001 “Executive Briefing: Case Study on the Return on Investment of Executive Coaching”, MetrixGlobal, LLCNovember 2, 2001 http://www.true-directions.com/downloads/MetrixGlobalCoachingROIBriefing.pdf accessed 26 July 2019
- Coutu, D., Kauffman, C., 2009 What Can Coaches Do for You? https://hbr.org/2009/01/what-can-coaches-do-for-you From the January 2009 Issue Harvard Business Review Accessed 19 July 2019
- Kimsey-House H, Kimsey-House K., Sandahl P., Whitworth S. 2018 ‘Co-Active coaching’ 4th Edition, Nicholas Brealey Publishing
- Kirk A., 2018 “How coaching has moved off the sports field”, Irish Times Tue, Jan 30, 2018, https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/how-coaching-has-moved-off-the-sports-field-1.3366915 Accessed 09 July 2019.
- Srinivasan P., 2015 “The No. 1 Reason to Hire a Life Coach — It’s Not What Most People Think” https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-number-one-reason-to_b_7809724 07/16/2015 04:40pm EDT | Updated December 7, 2017 Accessed 19 July 2019.
- Starr J., 2017 “Brilliant Coaching” 3rd Edition, Pearson
- Woods, Laura (n.d.) “Is There a Growing Demand for Life Coaches?” Work – Chron.com, http://work.chron.com/there-growing-demand-life-coaches-25362.html Accessed 09 July 2019.
- Forbes Coaches Council, 2018 “Key Differences Between Coaching And Consulting (And How To Decide What Your Business Needs)”
- https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/06/14/key-differences-between-coaching-and-consulting-and-how-to-decide-what-your-business-needs/#210b24333d71 Jun 14, 2018, 09:00am
- The International Coaching Federation, 2019 https://coachfederation.org/ Accessed 05 July 2019
- ICF Coaching Works https://www.icfcoachingworks.com/ Accessed 05 July 2019
- 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study EXECUTIVE SUMMARY https://coachfederation.org/app/uploads/2017/12/2016ICFGlobalCoachingStudy_ExecutiveSummary-2.pdf Accessed 18 July 2019.
- http://becomea.coach/ Accessed 26 July 2019
- Positive Success Group (n.d) “PSG History of Coaching”
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