I spent 11 years in an international company, where the word “coaching” was constantly on the agenda. It seemed to me that everyone knew what it was and the word itself wasn’t scary.
Apparently, I was wrong. Big time. Let me give you 2 examples “WHY”.
1. The missing quality
As it turned out, the word “coaching” has a very pejorative connotation in Poland, which I realized when I had to answer the question “so what do you do?”. When I answered “I am a business trainer, HR consultant and professional coach” I got these real time answers below in return.
“Oh, so you motivate others by saying: “you are a champion, go for it! – no, I do not shout nor say that.
“You keep asking questions starting with why, why, why?” – no, I don’t ask “why” questions all the time.
“You ask the magic question: “what would need to happen to…” – No, I don’t ask this question as I don’t like it myself.
Where does this approach to coaching come from?
There might be plenty of reasons.
Firstly, there are so called “motivational speakers” who shout from the stage that we can do everything what we want. Moreover, with such an attitude we should get up on Monday morning, go to work and conquer the world.
Secondly, we have one-weekend-course-coaches because someone told them that anyone can do coaching and 16-hour-training is enough.
Lastly, there are no legal regulations resulting in a multitude of courses, schools and coaching organizations, and thus a multitude of coaches. It is difficult to find yourself in such a coaching tangle
“How do I know? It’s simple. I participated in these types of training sessions myself.”
2. The misleading definition.
Coaching is “installed” in many corporate leadership programmes as a tool for engaging 1-2-1 conversations. However, the training process is focused on 2 things:
- the ability to ask open-ended questions and providing the “gold & most useful” ones in a manual.
- coaching for performance, i.e. work on employee results like KPI, customer feedback, competences required for the job.
How do I know? It’s simple. I participated in these types of training sessions myself.
The proof? Let me share a story my friend, Chris, told me.
“A multinational company. Friday afternoon. A huge workload with no chance to manage it before the weekend. Saturday overtime would be required. My boss approaches me and asks me with trembling voice: “What would need to happen for you to come to work tomorrow?”
Chris would prefer a simple message like “we have to catch up with our work, can you come over?”
If any managers reading this post use the “would need to happen” question, it is understandable if you participated in similar training.
Then what is coaching?
There are several definitions which I already shared in my previous blog article: Read here
Today, I will tell you what coaching is NOT.
Coaching is not:
It’s not about deep analysis and interpretation of our past, our behaviour and our problems neither finding the “why” anchored in the past. A coach never judges the client, assesses nor analyses what the client did or currently does. A coach may go back to the past, but only to find “how” the past affects the client now and if it helps or not.
It’s not about giving advice and sharing a coach’s own experience & knowledge for the client to derive from. Of course, an element of education is in place but only with the client’s consent and only when the client can benefit from it.
It’s not about giving information about trends, good practice or what generally works. This is no “one-fits-all” solution. There are no standards to which the client should fit into, because each of us are a unique human being.
It’s not a relationship where a coach gives advice or tells someone what to do. The coach never says what the client should do, because the coach is not in the client’s shoes (head, heart, soul). Of course, a coach supports the client 100%, but at the same time the coach asks challenging questions to broaden the client’s perspective.
It’s not a competition as in coaching there are no winners or losers. Why? Because as one of iPEC foundation principles says: Life is a perfect adventure; a game that cannot be won or lost, only played.
Recently, I found the statement below on one of the FB pages: “For everyone who doesn’t like coaching nor personal development. You don’t like it? Then, call it something else – either way, you have to develop”.
I’m not sure if everyone “has to develop” because each of us makes own decision whether we want it or not, but I do agree that coaching might not suit everyone. Fortunately, coaching is only one of the methods of our development, but it is definitely worth trying out and testing it yourself.
For the brave ones who would like to try – you know where to find me 😊
“For everyone who doesn’t like coaching nor personal development. You don’t like it? Then, call it something else – either way, you have to develop”.