1. What Is Coaching?
Professional Coaching is a professional partnership between a qualified coach and an individual or team in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires clients to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve;
- Encourage client self-discovery;
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies; and
- Hold the client responsible and accountable.
Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has, recognizing that results are a matter of the individual’s or team’s intentions, choices and actions.
There are many reasons that an individual or team might choose to work with a coach, including but not limited to the following:
- There is something at stake (a challenge, stretch goal or opportunity), and it is urgent, compelling or exciting or all of the above
- There is a gap in knowledge, skills, confidence, or resources
- A big stretch is being asked or required, and it is time sensitive
- There is a desire to accelerate results
- There is a need for a course correction in work or life due to a setback
- An individual has a style of relating that is ineffective or is not supporting the achievement of one’s personally relevant goals
- There is a lack of clarity, and there are choices to be made
- The individual is extremely successful, and success has started to become problematic
- Work and life are out of balance, and this is creating unwanted consequences
- One has not identified his or her core strengths and how best to leverage them
- The individual desires work and life to be simpler, less complicated
- There is a need and a desire to better organized and more self-managing
2. What are the benefits of coaching?
Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles. Consistent with a commitment to enhancing their personal effectiveness, they can also expect to see appreciable results in the areas of productivity, personal satisfaction with life and work, and the achievement of personally relevant goals.
According to the 2009 ICF Global Coaching Client Study, companies that use or have used professional coaching for business reasons have seen a median return on investment of seven times their initial investment. Individual clients reported a median return on investment of 3.44 times their investment.
3. What should someone look for when selecting a coach?
The most important thing to look for in selecting a coach is someone with whom you feel you can easily relate to and create the most powerful partnership. Here are some questions you may want to ask prospective coaches:
- What is your coaching experience? (number of individuals coaches, years of experience, types of situations)
- What is your coach specific training? Do you hold an ICF Credential, or are you enrolled in an ICF Accredited Training Program?
- What is your coaching specialty or client areas you most often work in?
- What specialized skills or experience do you bring to your coaching?
- What is your philosophy about coaching?
- What is your specific process for coaching? (how sessions are conducted, frequency, etc.)
- What are some coaching success stories? (specific examples of individuals who have done well and examples of how you have added value)
For more information about coaching visit the ICF Coaching FAQs page.