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What is Coaching?

Filed in Blog by Tracey Davison on 3354 - 0 Comments

What is Coaching - Leadership Blog

Continuing our exploration of the five core aspects of leadership, this week we ask what is coaching and why is it so critical to effective leadership?

What is Coaching not?

In answering the question ‘what is coaching?’ it is useful to start with ‘what is coaching not?’ because whilst we all have our own ideas about what coaching is, we come across many inaccurate definitions and perceptions that are largely negative in connotation.  For example, coaching does not refer to psychotherapy, counseling or indeed life coaching.

Coaching also does not mean failure.  Many people’s view of coaching is that it is a last resort; to help somebody who is failing or with serious performance problems.  This negative association causes people to be apprehensive and suspicious about coaching.  Whilst coaching is used in those instances, it is now well established as a highly effective method of performance improvement.  Indeed, a large number of senior executives benefit from having a personal coach.  Catherine Sandler is an Executive Coach, whose work with Senior executives from blue chip companies, including John Lewis, has been well documented; providing greater clarity and focus for her clients.  Organisations are slowly beginning to recognise the benefits of coaching and to cascade them down through the business.  As such, there is increasing demand on leaders to take on the role of coach; to use it as part of their leadership strategy.

What is coaching?

Coaching is: a partnership, in which the coach challenges, supports and enables (but does not dictate or instruct) the coachee in the achievement of their goals and the realisation of their potential.  The coachee, in turn, agrees to engage fully in the pursuit of performance improvement and achieving the goals laid out within the coaching agenda, the content of which is led by the coachee, not the coach.

Why is Coaching critical to effective leadership?

In conclusion then, there’s an abundance of research showing us that coaching enhances performance, so coaching is critical to effective leadership because leaders who coach their teams, quite simply, have more effective, higher performing teams.  For a leader ( as opposed to an external coach) taking on the role of coach has the added benefits of strengthening the leader/team relationship; building trust and accountability and heightening engagement.  Read the next post in this series: How can I Create Accountability in my Team?

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