What is coaching? What benefits can you gain from it? What you can expect from it?

By on August 1, 2011
what is coaching?

By Anna Cook –

For a start, it depends on what form of coaching and what area of activity… There are sports, music, voice, expat, language, financial, dating, relationship, business and life coaching – amongst many others! One thing that all coaching has in common is that people use it to create change and move forward, advance.

Coaching is a series of one or more conversations between coach and coachee. There can be one-off “laser” sessions focusing on a specific immediate issue to explore the options leading to the best solution.

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It can be multi session over a certain amount of time from several weeks to several months, not usually long-term though, although people frequently come back later for coaching on another theme, or after new developments! Normally face to face, in person or by such wonders as Skype (webcam) and by telephone. Some people coach via email but I’m not a fan of this, it is difficult to be sure of the feeling or emotion via the written word, and there is an obvious delay in response.

The coach uses a combination of listening, questioning, and observing followed by a brief recap of what the coachee has said. The recapping ensures the coach has fully understood and also can enable the coachee to see things clearly and more objectively. Coaching helps you discover opportunities for improvement within yourself as well as practical ways forward – the emphasis being on you doing the seeing.

The role of coach and advisor are very different, as are the roles of coach and therapist. There are similarities in some aspects, but they are not interchangeable. Coaching is solution based, supporting general life situations, guiding you to improve performance and move towards the results you desire.

Advisors advise, they look at the situation, decide what they think is the best option and tell you how, when and where you should do it, therefore even if helpful at the time, it doesn’t actually help you improve, grow or become more self-aware. Therapists focus on specific problems, traumas and illnesses. They tend to delve around to see the cause of why you are where you are, and often have specialist skills for coping with drug/alcohol dependency, violence or abuse, mental illness and severe depression.

The support offered by coaching/a coach is different from any other. It offers a commitment and attention to you, and your well-being, that is rarely found elsewhere. As coaches, we focus solely on you and your particular situation. The importance of the coaching session is you, your happiness, your success and the solutions that work to your goals and objectives. There is no judgment, just objectivity and support. This is why more and more people are turning to coaching – it can help you develop and progress so you can find or achieve what you really want.

Whatever your reason for thinking about coaching the “themes” may well overlap. It’s almost impossible to separate the threads running through your life – A problem at work spills over into your home life, a strained relationship causes under-performing at work, poor health and lack of energy can affect your self-esteem as well as your social life.

Obviously, as with everything, some coaches may be better suited than others to you, your character and your desires. Rapport is always important. Different coaching styles may seem more or less supportive to you. Remember coaching is not there for someone to organize your life for you, it is to help you find the skills and strengths that lie within yourself and to support or guide you in bringing them out to create more happiness, success and fulfillment for yourself and your objectives.

As a coachee myself, as well as being a coach, I have experienced those whose blinding clarity and warm friendly support have enabled me to explore and unleash a totally different part of me, and to gain deep understanding of how I act and react. Professionally, one who I found particularly helpful is Mark Satterfield of Gentle Rain – he helps business owners get new clients with no cold calling or hard selling.

On our first conversation he immediately saw a new market (to do with Castles in commercial real estate), that I hadn’t even thought of! But it wasn’t only that, he helped me develop a totally new thread of thought, creativity and inspiration that made me far more efficient, productive and targeted. For personal development, there is also a charming French lady (moving to California), a very sympathetic coach who has now turned to Brief Therapy. She also introduced me to hypnosis, which much to my surprise, I found to be excellent. On the downside I have also experienced one who I felt was too much advisor and not enough coach.

Good coaches are open, honest, they make you feel valued and understood. They listen to you, the conversation seems easy and flowing, and silence for reflection feels natural and not pressured. They focus on the key parts of the conversation, clarifying your thoughts and objectives. They build rapport, are encouraging and challenging. They guide you to source your own inspiration and support you in achieving more than you would normally. They are attentive to you, considerate of your physical as well as your emotional comfort and well-being. They are committed to you and keep their own commitments!

Coaches work with you as equals, offering a supporting role of natural objective collaboration. Coaching can literally change your life. It can help you discover insight and self-awareness, develop your objectives, increase your happiness and realize your potential. It can help you focus on what is really important to you and shape your life accordingly.

I help the M Bracket (middle age, mature) transition the last years of their career successfully, developing a happy, healthy and fulfilling future and retirement.

If you would like to know more about personal coaching or online and self-study programs just email or phone me for details.

Anna Cook [email protected]http://annaletitiacook.com

About Anna Cook

Anna Letitia Cook is particularly passionate about mentoring women executives, and the 50+ sector, in finding clarity in their career choices. She created and became CEO of her first company in the entertainment industry at age 32. Midlife approaching, hungry for a dynamic change, she refocused her experience, founding WomenUP Ltd, focusing on helping women shape their own future. Creator of the process SCOPE for career, fulfilment and success, she is currently working on her first book ‘Liberate Your Career: The Women’s Guide to Freedom and Fulfilment’, with plans for a second, ‘Glass Ceiling Grans’, early next year. On the personal front, Anna lives in the beautiful French countryside, she has 2 grown children and looks forward to becoming a granny (hopefully sooner rather than later)! She is a committed dog lover and accomplished horsewoman, passionately interested in ballet, and a devotee of adventurous hiking and trekking.

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What is coaching? What benefits can you gain from it? What you can expect from it?