If you are looking to make a change but you are not sure what should be your next step. Or you are great at generating ideas but lose your way when it comes to implementing them. Or if you feel like you keep hearing the same feedback from those around you but you have no idea how to make the change. If you are feeling stuck in any way, coaching is an option you could pursue.
Coaching is designed to be a collaborative process where a professional focuses on helping an individual be clear about where they are presently and where they want to be headed. Coaches work to help their clients gain clarity about their vision or dream. They also help them to identify and decide how best to eliminate obstacles to achieving the success they desire. Coaching can also be used to accelerate the pace of personal growth and to outline the steps needed to empower a client to live their best life – professionally and personally. Those of us who practice it professionally are required to adhere to the principles and guidelines outlined by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
During your coaching journey you and your coach can decide what area of your life you will focus on for your development. It can center on work and professional development, starting your own business, relationships, finances, spiritual life, physical health or well being. Coaching is forward-focused and works to help the client identify what they want to do next to achieve their dreams and visions.
As a development tool, coaching can often be confused with counseling as a methodology for achieving individual growth and development. However, coaching is its own pathway to success and while individuals can choose to pursue either or both, there are some key differences between these two forms of development.
A simple rule of thumb to know whether an individual should choose coaching or counseling is as follows. If your past is an issue that you want to focus on, study, explore and analyze, then chances are that counseling is the best option for you to pursue. If on the other hand, you view your past as simply a fact that happened and you have moved forward (regardless of whether the circumstances were difficult or negative), you are probably ready for coaching. Unlike counseling coaching does not deal with an exploration of past issues or engage in an in-depth analysis to understand how those issues are influencing you now.
With the support of a counselor or therapist, some individuals choose to engage in both coaching and counseling simultaneously, but with a focus on different areas of life for each service.
If you choose to pursue the coaching option it is important that you recognize the role that you must play in your own development. The coach will help you to focus on the path that you must walk and will offer you support and guidance as you do so. The coach will take responsibility for challenging you, helping you to consider alternatives and options that you may want to close off because of your self-limiting beliefs. Your coach will help you to keep going when you are feeling doubt and help you to celebrate when you are achieving victories. However, much of the work that must be done to achieve the desired results must come from you the client. That helps you to feel ownership in the process and to recognize that in the end, you have the power within you. Effective coaches simply help you peel back the layers. The real gem is inside you all along.
Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados.