What is Coaching?

Overview

Coaching is one of those terms you hear thrown around a lot these days.  We all understand what a sports coach does (BTW – I promise not to yell at you if you strike out!).  But who are all of these other coaches that we’re hearing about and what are they doing?

Coaching is the process of developing skills in a certain area with guidance from an objective expert.  You can find coaching in many different areas, including:

–Sports Coaching:  Team coaches are obvious but there are also private coaches that can be hired for one-on-one training.

–Life Coaching: Life coaches help people sort out priorities and keep their lives on track.  Beware of life coaches.  I’m sure there are some great ones out there, but anyone can hang out a shingle as a life coach.  They aren’t required to have credentials, and you never know what you’ll get.

–Job Search Coaching: This involves experts who help with resume writing, interview preparations, networking, finding job opportunities, etc.

–Presentation Skills Coaching:  I once helped set up a VP with this type of coach.  The coach was someone who regularly worked with TV anchors and professional actors.  The VP went from lacking self confidence and lots of “ummmms” to being a solid presenter.

–Wellness Coaching:  My sister-in-law does this.  She is an MD who can help people live healthier lives by supporting weight loss, diets, exercise, and management of chronic disease.

–Business and Professional Coaching:  That’s me!  Professional coaching usually involves identifying individual skill or style gaps and working with the person to improve in those areas.  It often involves assessments, feedback and individual development plans.

Coaching usually involves one-on-one interaction between the coach and coachee.  It can be in-person or via phone and usually lasts 3-12 months.  Sometimes a coaching engagement is shorter or longer depending on need.  One-on-one professional coaching is the type of coaching I do as part of my job.  I work with internal executives to help them be more successful in their roles.

This site will provide you much of the same advice and information that you could get out of a coaching relationship.  The difference is that this is free and available to everyone.  Also, you’ll have to do more of the work to apply this information to your specific situation and your developmental needs.  And of course, this advice is intended for geeks.

Any coaching engagement requires hard work and commitment from the coachee.  It also takes time to practice new skills.  You did not develop your problematic habits or styles overnight, and you won’t fix them overnight.  You must have reasonable expectations and celebrate the milestones on the way to your goal.  Some changes will happen quickly and others take longer.

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