Management & Leadership

What is coaching, and how is it used to help people?

Oct 30, 2019 | By Signpost

Coaching is the second-fastest-growing industry in the world, but what does the coaching profession entail? We answer some of the questions you may have.

In 2018, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reported that coaching was the second fastest growing industry in the world. Entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to coaches to help improve the effectiveness of the businesses, while many individuals acquire the services of coaches to help them achieve personal goals.

It’s clear that coaching is a career with a bright future, but what does the profession entail, and what sets it apart from counselling or consulting? We answer some of the questions you may have.

What is the goal of coaching?

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” The purpose of coaching is to help clients unlock their inner potential and achieve their goals.

The fundamental pillars of coaching methodology are:

  • Build a relationship with the client, based on trust and mutual respect.
  • Help the client set goals, and hold them accountable for achieving those goals.
  • Provide the client with tools to create solutions to their problems, rather than attempting to solve their problems for them.

How does a coach differ from…

A counsellor: Whereas with counselling the focus is generally on past experiences; coaching is future-oriented, with the focus being on (helping) facilitating the process for the client to achieve their personal or professional goals.

A consultant: Professional consultants generally focus on organisations, whereas professional coaches focus on individuals. Furthermore, consultants propose solutions based on their own expertise, whereas the purpose of coaching is to create a thinking environment to allow the client devise their own solutions.

A mentor: Although the two roles are similar in a lot of ways, a coach tends to be more action-oriented, ( helping )partnering with the client set to and achieve goals over a shorter period of time; while the mentor builds a long-term relationship with their mentee, during the course of which they pass on advice based on their own experience.

Types of coaching

Coaching has been shown to have significant benefits in both the personal and professional realm, although each does require a slightly different approach, hence why professional coaches tend to specialise.

The life coach aims to help the client achieve life goals, whether that pertain to relationships, career, self-esteem or even health and nutrition. In a world of constant distractions and rising stress levels, more people see the benefit of having a life coach who can help set them on the path.

The business coach helps individuals within a business improve their efficiency and career prospects. Unlike the life coach, the business coach requires knowledge of business processes and management skills in order to perform their role effectively.

The executive coach is similar to the business coach, but – as the name suggests – they deal with high-ranking members of a company; people who are likely to take on leadership roles. Their aim is to help their clients grow and develop as leaders.

The educational coach works with students to improve skills that can help them advance in their studies, such as time management, organisation and concentration. They can also help teachers develop skills that assist them in their profession, such as classroom management and instructional methods.

It’s clear that coaching is a diverse profession that can have significant impact in a number of areas, whether it be:

  • Coaching in the workplace, which helps improve teamwork and morale.
  • Coaching in education, which creates more efficient learning environments.
  • Coaching in an organisation, which helps improve business efficiency and produce the leaders of tomorrow.
  • Coaching to help individuals explore what they want in life, and how they might achieve their aspirations and fulfil their dreams.

In this way, professional coaches make a difference at every level of society.

How to become a coach

Coaching is a craft like any other, so the first step is to acquire the necessary training. As Karolyne Williams, former Head of Coaching at SACAP, says: “The marketplace is wiser these days and seeks to separate the well-trained and experienced coaches from the fly-by-nights. They do this – at least initially – by looking at the coach training received.”

SACAP offers a range of coaching courses, all of which are International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited and COMENSA aligned. These courses can provide you with a solid foundation for pursuing a career as a life coach or business coach, while developing skills that will serve you well in a number of career paths. For more information, enquire now.

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