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It's International Coaching Week

It's the International Coach Federation's International Coaching Week from 7 to 13 February 2010.  So this week's blog posts are focusing on coaching.  So let's start with what coaching is - and isn't.

You can find lots of definitions of coaching, including this one from the ICF:

Professional coaching is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organisations. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance and enhance their quality of life.

Here is another explanation that I like.

Coaching often gets confused with therapy, counselling, mentoring, consulting, advice and probably other things too.

Timothy Gallwey, who wrote the Inner Game books explains the difference between coaching and other types of support using the analogy of driving a car:

  • A therapist will explore what is stopping you driving your car
  • A counsellor will listen to your anxieties about the car
  • A mentor will share tips from his experience of driving a car
  • A consultant will advise you how to drive the car
  • A coach will encourage and support you in driving the car.

This ensures that your skills develop so that things that were once difficult become habits. You become a highly skilled ‘driver’, able to avoid obstacles, deal with congestion, climb steep hills and negotiate tight curves and fast downhill roads with confidence.

The critical things are:

This ensures that you remain in the driving seat and get the most out of the coaching process.

In choosing a coach, check the following:

Professional accreditation

Commitment to on-going personal and professional development:

  • Work with their coach on a regular basis
  • Have a supervisor
  • Are continually developing their own knowledge and expertise in coaching or allied area.



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