What is coaching?

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What is coaching? I get asked this question a bunch.  One time a customer said “I cannot wait for my next counseling appointment.”  I was not offended because to this client it was therapeutic.  I think of coaching as meeting a person where they are at and helping them identify where they want to go and outline how they are going to get there.

Think of your iPhone when it asks if it can use your Current Location.  At least two or three coaching sessions are about helping the person identify their Current Location.

I get hired to coach for one of two reasons.  First, the thought of staying where they are at is very painful and it is time to address the status-quo.  Second, I get hired because the person needs to increase capacity and effectiveness.

I consider my role in the process as a question asker, data gatherer, a reflector, a challenger and a resource.  If someone, hires me to get somewhere in particular, I collaborate to build a plan with them and off we go.

If someone hires me to increase their capacity, it is to not only identify their current location but to begin to create a vision of where they want to end up as a leader, manager or contributor.

The process can be as structured or unstructured as they want.  It can be also be a more serendipitous experience where the conversation provides the trajectory.  Either way the person I coach must engage in the process for it to be successful.

I incorporate assessment data into all coaching engagements because it sheds light on the conversation.  It is not the conversation.  It helps inform why certain behaviors are leveraged and provides a picture of a persons strengths and derailing behavior.

The outcomes are not the same for every person.  In fact, the outcomes are mostly driven by the customer. The outcome themes do include things like capacity, self-awareness, effectiveness, speed of decision, team retention and team results.  The people I coach lead others and hopefully during and after the process, the team wins, advances and develops.

I live for one on one conversations with the people I work with.  I do team coaching through facilitation, which allows for the group to reflect back to the individual.

My vision for coaching is that individuals and teams flourish.   Flourishing is about achievement and accomplishment.  This happens when the leader has a non-anxious and purposeful presence.

Check out a few pictures from the Open Pivot Facebook page to see what a large group facilitation looks like.