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The Way I See It… Understanding Coaching


Author of new series, "The Outcome", coach John Copeman sets the scene with this discussion of the benefits of coaching compared to other forms of development.

As a training professional you will of course know the term ‘coaching’, but there is often confusion over the nuances of business coaching compared to mentoring, life coaching and even training.

Academia has a habit of making these concepts seem overcomplicated. It’s really very simple. My aim here is to demystify these terms and clarify their roles in your future, and let’s use plain English to do it.

Business Coaching: The techniques with which we empower an individual to discover the potential and knowledge they already have, and to use it to become more effective

Mentoring: The techniques with which we suggest possibilities to an individual by sharing our experience and subject knowledge to open different perspectives

Life Coaching: The techniques with which an individual is able to unlock limiting beliefs and values, and address personal life/history issues that are preventing them from recognising and fulfilling their potential.

Training: The techniques with which we introduce individuals to new information and techniques for approaching life and work, and to also re-enforce and refresh previous learning.

Life coaching may or may not be applicable, but where needed, offers incredible benefits to the individuals concerned. It examines the whole person and seeks to make improvements in all aspects of their life. However, this must not be confused (either in understanding or practise) with business coaching, as they are different approaches to personal growth and organisational development.

Every business in today’s market is subject to greater competition and an increasing and overwhelming amount of information to review and decipher. More rules for the HR department to follow and impose and greater opportunities as the overseas markets become more available, and the list goes on. These are all potentially ‘negative stress’ builders, and negative stress is counter-productive to the individual, their family and their work performance.

For an organisation to grow its business it must grow its people and, historically, this has been largely with training provision. Given that too often training is poorly followed up and measured as to its impact, many ‘so-called’ investments made in training are seen as costs. If you can’t specifically measure the benefit of the training in bottom line terms, it becomes an investment in name, not in reality.

We also rarely measure the starting point for training – where is the individual currently in terms of knowledge, understanding and potential?

Coaching, however, is about getting individuals to peak performance according to their existing knowledge, understanding and potential. So, not only will it increase productivity but also attitude, morale, enthusiasm, teamwork, sales and the quality of communication in the organisation. It will also give an accurate measurement about where staff currently are in growth, and allow you to better schedule training interventions, measure them and calculate the return on your investments.

Organisations often get too focused on processes, and lose focus on the outcomes. When this happens we fail to make the best of the systems available to us, we battle against time issues and we spend far to much time producing no growth, profit or gain. This situation (all too evident across the world) creates negative stress, reduces morale and enthusiasm, destroys energy and empowerment, reduces retention (or the potential acquisition) of high-quality performers, and leads to absence, reduced profits and uncompetitive organisations.

Recent studies of Fortune 1000 company executives who had personally received coaching reported an average of 5.7 times return on investment. And identified key benefits in the areas of:
* Profitability
* Quality
* Productivity
* Retention
* Effective cost reduction

Powerful results I think you’ll agree, and the list of companies globally that are already embracing the benefits of business coaching grows daily from the household names to the unknown names. But all of them have one thing in common: they are addressing the true potential of their business and organisational future, their people.

So, "Success Coaching" (as I prefer to call it) is not about providing your people with the answers to their problems and challenges. Knowing or finding the answers is their responsibility. It is all about knowing the right questions to ask, and having the advanced communication skills to ask them in the right way and at the right time.

Get your people coached, grow them and the business and, when suitable, get staff trained as coaches themselves so the benefits spread throughout your whole organisation with massive impact on your future success.

Success coaching is here to stay, and so are the businesses that embrace it.


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