C is for Coaching

Coaching is a highly personalised way of learning as it focuses on your specific individual needs and context.

Working one to one with a coach in a confidential and non judgemental space, it harnesses your own resources, skills and creativity to help you create new ways of thinking, doing and feeling to move you forward.

Coaching often takes place over a period of time through a series of conversations during which the coach provides support, challenge and feedback to help you move forward and give time for new learning to be embedded and behaviour changes to be sustained.

Why is coaching good for learning? It:

  •  Is tailored to your individual needs
  •  Is an efficient use of your time
  • Puts you at the centre –  it is your agenda and you drive the process
  •  Focuses your attention and engages you
  •  Fosters accountability and ownership as you are more likely to carry through actions if you have generating the ideas, options and solutions yourself
  •  Grows your confidence and self belief that you have got there by yourself, using your own resources

Where can I find a coach?

The ICF 2016 Global Coaching Study estimates that there are 53,300 professional coach practitioners worldwide.

Whether you are looking to develop your skills, enhance your knowledge or performance, change career, get a promotion, find a job….you will be able to find a coach who can support you.

Internal or External?

An increasing number of organisations are offering coaching to their employees. In my last role as an internal coach at PwC, all grades of staff were able to access coaching confidentially.

The 6th Ridler Report (May 2106) found that 39% of coaching hours were through 1:1 internal coaching and 42% 1:1 external with arise in both expected over the next 2 years.

If you cannot access coaching internally, there are many credible external coaches. Find them through Google searches, recommendations, coaching bodies websites and coaches own websites.

Once you have a found a few potential coaches, find out how credible they are through their websites, LinkedIn profiles, blogs, social media…. ask others / your networks about them

Some essential questions to ask your potential coach

  • What is your depth and breadth of experience of coaching and how much of this is in the areas that I need support in?
  • What type of clients have you coached and at what level?
  • Describe how you have worked with others to get results or achieve outcomes?
  • What approaches and models do you use?  A good coach will have a flexible approach and be able to draw upon different  models, tools and techniques to fit your individual needs and  context
  • What coach specific qualifications do you have and are you a member of / have accreditation with a coaching body ( ICF, EMCC, APECS, AoC..)
  • What informs your practice?  e..g career background, life experiences, education, professional development…
  • How often do you engage in supervision?
  • How is coaching delivered – face to face, telephone, virtually e.g Skype/ video and how much does it cost

Once you have found a couple of coaches, test them out   

Most coaches offer an initial  free no obligation conversation to check that there is ‘fit’. Gauge your chemistry – does the coach’s style, approach, perspectives… fit with yours? Do you get a sense that you can trust them, open up and share your vulnerabilities with them? Coaching is very much a partnership based on trust, respect and transparency and it is important that you feel that you can connect and engage with them at a very human level

Before you embark on coaching, make sure that it is the right approach for you. Some questions to ask yourself. Am I:      

  • Aware of the need to develop, learn, grow
  • Open to feedback
  • Willing to become self aware
  • Prepared to step out of my comfort one
  • Able to be intentional within and outside of the sessions
  • Willing to be open, honest, vulnerable
  • Open to new perspectives
  • Willing to try new ways of thinking, doing and feeling
  • Motivated and committed to stay with new behaviours

Would love you to share your experiences on:

  1. What you learnt through the coaching process
  2. How you found and selected your coach

Read the rest of the #AtoZofLearning series:

A is for Action Learning

B is for Blogs and Blogging 

I’m an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance, drive results and achieve career success. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, designing learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please follow, like, comment, share and connect with me @verawoodhead

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About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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