By Henry Evans
Published in CEO-IQ, Volume 4
Coaching is the art of helping people identify and achieve their goals. Generally a coaching relationship exists between two people, the coach and the client. Working under the guidance of the coach they team up as thinking partners to identify the client’s personal and professional goals. Most coaching models will then focus on identifying behaviors to help the client achieve these goals while eliminating those behaviors that create obstacles or barriers to success.
Though a client’s subordinates and peers may be well–intentioned, many of them have agendas of their own when addressing the client’s issues, challenges, and concerns (e.g. staying in the boss’s good graces). A professional coach provides the client with objective feedback, drawing from education, and personal experience along with the experience gained from coaching other clients.
Coaching is not consulting. A good coach always asks pointed questions, and only rarely gives advice. This method creates true learning and growth for the client as new solutions and options come from insights that are uniquely their own. There are other distinct and equally important differences in coaching versus consulting.
- Consultants are often paid to deliver one thing, advice. A good coach is with you, as a thinking partner over the long haul.
- Consultants are usually told what the problem is and hired to fix it. A coach is often told there is a problem and hired to help the executive identify the problem then serve as a guide to successful execution the steps to eliminate the problem.
- Consultants are generally not invested in your outcome. A coach’s outcome is synonymous with yours.
- Consultants are prescriptive. In contrast, coaches are discovering solutions alongside you.
- Consultants generally give you advice that works for others. Coaches generally help you discover solutions appropriate for you.
- Consultants are paid to shape the company. Coaches are paid to improve personal performance, making company success a natural by-product.
When properly coached, a client sees clear objectives, and is held accountable by the coach to initiate and sustain the actions necessary to succeed. Look for my follow–up article entitled “Are You Coachable?”