Coaching

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The act of guiding an individual to new learning in defined time frames. Explanation of Coaching.

Contributed by: Guy Bloom

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CoachingWhat is Coaching? Description

Coaching can be described as a method and technique which can be used for guiding an individual to new learning in defined time frames. 


There are many definitions for coaching. With so many varying and contradictory definitions, it has been suggested that entering the debate of defining coaching is at this present time an exercise in abstraction (Jackson, 2005). Even prolific academic writers (Clutterbuck and Megginson, 2005) change their viewpoint, indicating that the field is still developing and fluid. As far back as 1994, Garvey (1994) refers to 'one-to-one helping' and thus proposes the concept of redefining the term, with the almost Esperanto-like hope that 'one-to-one helping' might be the rebirth of a muddied term which though effective in descriptor terms is not 'sticky' in branding terms.


Some writers have suggested that mentoring is the model for coaching and that mentoring, as a working title is too formal. They utilize the word coach as it is a more readily palatable (Hudson, 1999). More recently, in a heroic attempt to create some form of cohesion within this confused vista, we see that prominent writers in the field are not happy to accept either activity as a subset of the other. They state categorically that the distinctions between these two terms causes confusion and that the community should start to move to an agreed Coach-Mentor term (Parsloe & Wray, 2005).


Coaching definitions can be as simple and inclusive as, ‘the process of empowering others’ (Whitmore, 1997). Or more definitive: ‘a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve'. To be a successful Coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place’ (Parsloe, 1999). Perspective also plays a huge part in the interpretation of an individual contributors definition. Mentors view coaching as predominantly skills-related, with specific capabilities linked to outcome (Cranwell et al, 2004). The coach shifts the focus to the results of the job (Megginson and Clutterbuck, 1995) and a primary focus on performance within the current job and emphasizes the development of skills (Clutterbuck, 2004).


Definitions by coaches have developed over the years. From the somewhat quaint, potentially dangerous and insular belief that the ‘most important aspect of coaching is being accepted, respected and taken care of, rather than the exchange of information between the coach and the coachee’ (Olalla, 1998). To the business definition that pronounces that ‘coaching is an enabling process to increase performance, development and fulfillment’ (Alexander & Renshaw, 2005). Interestingly, Megginson (1988) as far back as 1988 proffers the view that coaching is more effective in a person’s development if actioned at specific stages. Thus in the context of the business world coaching is more role, job and project specific (Williams, 2000). If we follow this line of thought that specific interventions at appropriate times in a persons development is the most effective methodology, then a review of the broad range of coaching interventions is required. And we will see that what is new, is that coaching has amalgamated psychology, sports psychology and education (Zeus & Skiffington, 2000), and is now busy building ‘marketability and credibility’.
 

Origin of Coaching. History

The term ‘coach’ is first seen in the 1500’s referring to a method of carriage, actually a horse drawn vehicle, originating in the small Hungarian town of Kócs (pronounced "koach"). In the mid 1850’s the word coach was utilized in English universities referring to a person who aided students in exam preparation (Zeus and Skiffington, 2005) and appears to have links with "cramming" apparently recalling the multitasking skills associated with controlling the team of a horse-drawn stagecoach (Wikipedia, 2005). Coaching sees it's roots in Humanistic Psychology (Zeus & Skiffington, 2000), focusing on a persons dignity and intrinsic value.


Coaching in the Business World

As the Humanist movement started to emerge we begin to see a parallel emergence of coaching within the business world, which can be seen within peer reviewed journals. Gorby (1937) describes older employees coaching new employees to reduce waste, so as to achieve a performance bonus. Bigelow (1938) recounts Sales Managers coaching sales people. Mold (1951) reported a 'manager as coach' program. Hayden (1955) argued that 'follow up' coaching improved appraisals. Mahler (1964) indicated the difficulties of organizations getting their managers to be effective coaches. Gersham (1967) evaluated the effect of supervisors on 'attitude & job performance'. Tobias (1996) reports on a technically 'excellent' 44 yr old manager, who is coached on 'soft skills'. Though reported in ‘peer reviewed journals’ the referrals are predominantly ‘case studies’ and ‘comment’ as opposed to rigorous analytical works such as the more recent study by the Manchester Consulting Group (Zeus & Skiffington, 2005). This group reports a 5.7 times ROI in regard to a coaching program launched between 1996-2000. Also the research focus was geared towards a manufacturing biased as this was the financial powerbase at the time and the concepts of ‘empowered workforces’ and ‘human capital’ other than an operational resource was yet to emerge.


Ostensibly the ‘life coaching’ concept demonstrated the first, by modern definitions, coaching like activity, in a program aimed at high school dropouts. This work at the forefront of the war on poverty commenced in the 1950’s from a YMCA-sponsored training program in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, N.Y. Its aim was to search for more powerful counseling/learning methods in helping people learn the psychological and social skills for coping with the predictable developmental problems of life (Adkins, 2006). Towards the end of the 60's research became more rigorous (Grant & Cavanagh, 2004). This focus on more academic methodologies was the catalyst for the credibility required by the more progressive commercial bodies. And as such the birth of executive & business coaching emerged from leadership Programs in the 1980's (Zeus & Skiffington, 2005).


The real breakthrough of Coaching came with the mix of sports and the business world, virtually re-inventing itself. Tim Gallwey (1974) with his Inner Game of Tennis, was a primary catalyst for coaching in a business context with the quick succession of other notable sports-coaches, such as: John Whitmore (champion racing driver), David Hemery (Olympic Hurdles Medalist), and David Witaker (Olympic Hockey Coach).


Coaching in it's modern guise was born out of the Constructionist Learning Theory (Williams & Irving, 2001), with a core belief that there is no single, true interpreter or interpretation of reality (Zeus & Skiffington 2005). One can see the birth of coaching from principles that state: we ‘all construct our own understanding of the world we live in, through reflection on our experiences’. And interestingly with the 1990's seeing what some believe to be an upsurge in ‘quasi-philosophical’ groups, finding particular favor with those involved in management and communications development (Parsloe & Wray, 2005), it is possible to see how phenomenon's such as NLP (Grinder & Bandler, 1989) have ‘cherry picked’ from such areas such as Constructionist theory, Bateson’s (2000) Cybernetics, Chomsky’s (1972) Language Theory and Landamatics (Landa, 1974). It is this ‘cherry pick’ approach and the demands of a commercial corporate world that has generated the call for a ‘scientist-practitioner model of coaching’, where a more academic and rigorous methodology will act as a benchmark and validation of the field. For many coaching is a long way from being a profession, despite the existence of those that coach professionally (Grant, 2003b). The current concerns of definition and validity can be explained by a profession that has ‘converged’ rather than ‘emerged’ onto its current position.


Usage of Coaching. Applications

  • Business Coach.
  • Executive Coach.
  • Life Coach.
  • Performance Coach.
  • Sports Coach.
  • Workplace Coach.

Steps in Coaching. Process

Not universally agreed.


Strengths of Coaching. Benefits

  • The predominant benefit of coaching to the individual and business is the facilitation of self-directed learning. Though learning is enabled via a coach, the true underlying benefit of coaching is in the ability of the individual to 'move on' from the experience as a more able contributor.
  • In terms of retaining and developing talent studies indicate considerable advantages to companies that actively encourage coaching during transition/change phases.
  • ROI for coaching is considerably higher than standard classroom training, especially in the executive community, where studies show they disconnect up to 30 quicker than middle tier staff.

Limitations of Coaching. Disadvantages

  • Coaching is not therapy. If it is then the coachee can become dependent.
  • Can be seen as a prestige position in a business and thus can create a cliché of coaches and political influencers.
  • Try telling your boss he's a crap coach!

Assumptions of Coaching. Conditions

  • Coaching really pulls on the idea of Malcolm Knowles and 'Adult Learning', which in essence says that the individual has responsibility for their own learning and all engagements, should be 'guided, rather than led'.
  • This is an incredibly complicated topic, for such a simple thing. The reason being that coaching itself is not by definition a model, models such as GROW, are the tools of coaching.
  • Currently there are no central models that offer a universally accepted definition.

Book: Zeus & Skiffington - The Coaching at Work Toolkit -

Book: Mary Beth O'Neill - Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart -

Book: Bruce Peltier - The Psychology of Executive Coaching -




Coaching Forum (23 topics) Help
  The Need for Relational Coaching
The term 'Relational Coaching' might seem to be synonymous to Coaching, since coaching always involves at least two people that communicate and form a relationship in some way. However, the term relational coaching refers to something more specific t...
     
  Coach People's Strengths or Weaknesses?
Coaching people's strengths I find is much more effective than coaching their weaknesses. Working on a strong usually preferred area is more motivating than concentrating on something that perhaps they are avoiding, quite ...
     
  Effective Coaching
An effective coach is a skilled and knowledgeable individual who understands that all individuals, if they are not already achieving their true desires, are offering some form of resistance in terms of the vibe that they are sending out relative to t...
     
  Rational Emotional and Behavioral Therapy: REBT
The theory of REBT has been developed by Albert Ellis in 1955. Albert Ellis was not satisfied with the type of therapy he was trained in at that moment. Therefore, he experimented with different therapeutic models, being inspired by philosophers such...
     
  The Coach is a Facilitator for Self-Findings
Coaching is not about teaching people, but it is a process of facilitating the coachee to dig out his/her own hidden talents and anxiety via psychological counseling techniques....
     
  Has Coaching Become Too Technical?
I have been researching coaching for a number of years - partly in the hunt for the 'simple but effective' set of tools. The more I read, the more I seem to get confused.
In my early learning of coaching, it was quite straightforward - grow and ...
     
  Raising Productivity by Coaching
Be patient + be patient + be patient = success in coaching, but it is too hard to raise the productivity by coaching only.
There are too many factors involved to increase the productivity and there are too many theories we have to apply.
I...
     
  Coaching has Qualitative and Quantitative Aspects
Mentoring and coaching both have qualitative and quantitative aspects.
For example, using multiple data collection tools during my research resulted in verbal and numerical data; that is qualitative and quantitative data. The data was obtained...
     
  Leader Must make Decisions
Ramos said: 'No authority shall rule over reason, on the contrary the mind must prevail over the authority to manage it'.
Therefore a wise leader should consider others opinion, especially experts' view, and then make the best decision, which ma...
     
  Coaching Reduces Wastage
Besides increasing productivity, coaching can also reduce wastage. When a corporation or organization hires coaches to developed their participants that creates more cost effectiveness than any other procedure....
     
  Qualities of a Good Coach. Checklist
The importance of coaching cannot be underestimated. However, identifying a good coach is far from easy. Here's a checklist of quailities for a good coach I recommend:
- More knowledgeable in the area
- Humble enough to accept corrections f...
     
  Problems with Definition of Coaching
Overly broad definitions of coaching (and mentoring too) plague discussions around these two topics:
- Coaching can be remediation or developmental, goal-specific or general in coverage, conducted internally or by an outside consultant, by a lea...
     
  Business Coach must be Holistic
I agree with the most comments. And as business coaches we have to know more about strategy/operations, people management, self management and communication. We have to have a more holistic view and that`s why our job is a challenging one....
     
  Coaching BY Managers and Leaders
I've been a long time manager in multinational companies and I am since 8 years a self-employed business coach. As a professional coach I support my coachees in finding their own solution of their own problems. Their solution is completely neutral to...
     
  Why Leaders Need Coaching
Leaders must be very conscious of their actions and of the impact they have on others. Coaching is an excellent tool to gain consciousness. Any other reasons why coaching is particularly useful for leaders?...
     
  Use of the Body in Coaching
What do you think about those coaching approaches which uses the body to generate awareness and to develop soft skill? Are they acceptable in your culture? Do they fit in corporate coaching?...
     
  Coaching is Expert-aided Goal-oriented Learning
A coach is one which takes you from the the present place to another desired place. Therefore coaching is goal-oriented learning with the aid of an expert in the field....
     
  Dissertation Support on Effectiveness of Training
In a month or so, I am starting research for my MBA dissertation on the effectiveness of training; the readiness of the learner; the environment and role of the company in learning, whether learning can be enhanced and how as well as considering the ...
     
  Does Business Coaching Really Work?
Hypothesis: coaching helps the coachee (and his team) to perform significantly better in achieving business objectives.
Is this a dream or a fact? Experience?...
     
  Mentoring versus Coaching
Mentoring has high interest for me. Based on my observation and that of other officers, a great gap exists in planning and delivery. So mentoring should help to improve teacher competencies. A more experienced exp...
     



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Resources - Coaching Premium
How to Become a Master Manager? - Introduction to Managing People. Know Thyself
Daniel Goleman on Competence Development - Competence Development, Coaching, Mentoring
Hearing versus Listening - Communicating Effectively, Active Listening, Coaching, Mentoring
NLP: The 6 Neurological Levels - 6 layers to view at the reality of a person or issue
Building the Helping Relationship - 10 Principles for Facilitative Consultancy
Coaching vs Counselling - A Comparison
How to Manage Challenging Situations and Challenging People? - People Management, Conflict Management, Persuasion, Challenging Situations
Peer and Co-worker Relationships - Relationship Management, Emotional Intelligence, Coaching, Emotional Work, Relationship at Work, Employee Relationships
Steven Covey on his 8 Habits of Effective People / Managers / Leaders - Understanding the 8 Habits of Covey. Leadership Development, Management Development, Coaching, Mentoring
Introduction and Summary of (Executive) Coaching - Initial Understanding of Coaching
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Compare with Coaching: Mentoring  |  Facilitation Styles  |  Leadership Pipeline  |  Hagberg Model of Personal Power  |  Cultural Dimensions  |  Cultural Intelligence  |  Emotional Intelligence  |  Managerial Grid  |  4 Dimensions of Relational Work  |  Maslow Hierarchy of Needs  |  ERG Theory  |  Spiral Dynamics  |  Changing Organizational Cultures  |  Expectancy Theory  |  Whole Brain Model  |  Seven Habits  |  Seven Surprises  |  Johari Window  |  EPIC ADVISERS  |  Leadership Styles  |  Level 5 Leadership


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