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Everyone and Their Mother is Talking about ‘Coaching’ - What is it Really?

It will be rare to find someone who never heard "coaching" and yet it is one of the most overloaded terms today. Starting from sports coaching, tutoring or mentoring a junior professional, coaching bears a very diverse context. One common denominator though, it is about helping another person getting better at some skill.

In the professional world, coaching is becoming more common in recent years. And that is where it could use little more clarity.

According to the International Coach Federation(ICF), coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The basic premise of coaching is that we are whole, capable and resourceful. The coach's job is to hold a safe space, empower them and to facilitate their process of finding their own answer.

The purpose of ICF coaching is not just to solve the current challenge at hand, it is also to help the client learn and grow in the process. One of my clients once said, "I had an issue I wanted to talk to you but then I realized I could use your approach and ask me those questions. I did and I got a solution!" He no longer needed me and that is the kind of success makes a coach's work so meaningful. When this client started with me six months ago, he was feeling low confidence, and challenges in his peronal and professional relationships. In his own words, only six months of coaching helped him overcome those quite significantly.

The basic premise of coaching is that we are whole, capable and resourceful. The coach's job is to hold a safe space, empower them and to facilitate their process of finding their own answer.

 

Not only in a professional life, coaching skills come handy in a very personal situation as well. Last night, my 14-year-old was having a challenge. She was in tears as she was telling me about what happened in school. My mom instinct wanted to "fix" it the first thing in the morning. But unfortunately, that assurance didn't pacify her. Despite feeling little puzzled, I realized I needed to "walk my talk", it's time to "be a coach". I shifted to authentic listening while holding her whole, capable and resourceful. Within a minute or two she calmed down and came up with an idea to address the issue. Phew, coaching competency saved a school night drama!

I myself have been working with coaches on and off for both personal and professional aspects of my life. Each and every one of those had a profound impact. Earlier this year was a crucial turning point in my life and through coaching, I experienced how breakdowns lead to a breakthroughs.

In the corporate world, coaching has become a very positive tool for employee development. According to an ICF research, the vast majority of companies (86%) said they at least made their investment back. It has been proven to improve productivity and employee well-being across the board.

Sharmin Banu, PCC

Sharmin Banu has 20 years of diverse experience as an executive coach and as a technology leader. Through transformative coaching approach, Sharmin helps her clients to create awareness, build new habits/skills resulting in greater leadership presence and more sustainable impact to the bottom line.

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