Coaching – Is it what we think it is?

Coaching is a term that is very widely used, and misused. Experience shows that when many managers speak about coaching, what they are referring to is actually telling their people what to do. This is incorrect since, in the words of Sir John Whitmore, a pioneer in executive coaching and leadership development, Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance.
Telling people what to do seems like a quicker fix. It is immediate, gives instant gratification and it fixes the current matter at hand. Coaching, on the other hand, is more of a progression, a voyage, where the interactions between the coach and coachee are focused on helping the coachee grow, develop and flourish. Coaching does not give instant results and instant gratification but its results develop and appear over a period of time. The gratification that coaching gives, however, is immense, since you actually observe an individual change, grow and morph into a better performing person who is seeking to maximise their potential.
Anyone can be a coach since you can coach your staff, your peers and your friends. Having said this, in order to be a coach, one needs to have the attitude, the patience and the disposition to coach others and see them grow. Coaching is not about the coach but about the coachee. It is about listening, questioning, showing empathy and assisting the coachee. It is about providing structure, focusing on strengths and encouraging the coachee to come up with their own solutions. Once the coachee finds their own way under this guidance, the rewards are great and the growth is permanent.