Coaching is a powerful, highly-tuned process of communication and problem solving. The relationship between coach and client is "co-creative." It focuses entirely on the client’s interests, challenges, and goals.
Coaches come in all "shapes and sizes"; there’s no one ideal profile. A great many individuals have the blend of authenticity, integrity, skills, and business savvy necessary to become a successful coach.
It would be extremely challenging, however, to be a good coach without the experience, maturity, and acquired life skills of a journey already in progress. The best coaches are, in essence, guides along the path of life for those who wish to travel in a similar direction.
As a coach, I have the marvelous opportunity and privilege to create value in the life of another. When I do that, a surprising thing happens: I create value in my own life as well.
In 2011, when I was getting certified as a coach through the Resource Associates Coaching Academy, we discussed the key attributes and time-tested principles of "coaching that creates value." We learned how to implement them so that our coaching would be powerful, effective, and valuable. I thought I’d share these attributes and principles with you here.
Coaching that creates value is …
Focused: Good coaches always focus on the client and the client’s goals. They put the spotlight on people and results, not on themselves or on other extraneous stuff.
Revelatory: Success resides within each of us; it comes from the inside out. Good coaching does not aim to create and develop potential; it seeks to reveal and release it. In the coaching environment, clients learn to uncover their deepest desires, identify their strengths, and unmask the constraints that previously held them back. They are then in a position to take the right actions to achieve their life goals.
Authentic: Successful coaches are authentic. They do not entertain insecure thoughts about the "bells and whistles" they don’t have. Rather, they unselfishly and unashamedly offer clients the benefits of the unique personal style, skills, life experiences, intuitive sense, and other strengths they do have. Because they check their egos at the door and are simply "themselves," their coaching sessions flow effortlessly and create great value for their clients.
Empowering: Authentic, focused coaching creates a safe space for clients to E-X-P-A-N-D. When safety and trust are established, creativity is unlocked, possibilities are discovered, and movement is initiated. Coaches are different from therapists and consultants. Therapists and consultants need to know, or at least need to pretend to know, more than their clients. Coaches, on the other hand, don’t need to be seen as experts. They are more interested in empowering than in impressing.
Responsive: Effective coaching involves listening and responding to clients, not "advising" or "fixing" them. Effective coaches use "dynamic inquiry" as a powerful tool for unlocking the power in their clients. This kind of "deep listening" is not an inherited expertise, but a skill that can be learned through practice.
Synergistic: Because of the magical energy of co-creation, clients and coaches achieve more significant results together than either could achieve alone. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Experiential: When coaches and clients immerse themselves in the experience, creative energy is released and transformation results. The pace may at first seem slow, but results come fast. And the results last, because they are built on a strong foundation.
Mutually Beneficial: Good coaches find that the coaching relationship is always calling them to be their strongest, most effective selves. Coaching from one’s "core" is energizing. Successful coaching unleashes creative energy that creates value for both coach and client.
Transformational: Coaching is not simply about improving situations; it’s about transforming people. Coaching does not simply help clients solve problems; it transforms the way they solve them. It does not simply improve their lives; it transforms the way they live.
As you can see, these are some pretty lofty values and principles to live up to. And I strive to do so every day.