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Coaching - Just Hippy, American Nonsense?

Posted 1671 Days Ago in: Coaching Articles, Corporate Coaching Articles, Success Stories, Tips

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Absolutely not (Im shouting that at high volume!). Americans have embraced and embedded coaching in all of its forms, which they are to be credited for. Without a second thought or justification required, coaching is part of the US culture of personal development, going for gold, gutsy drive and determination made worthwhile by the results delivered.

Absolutely not (I’m shouting that at high volume!). Americans have embraced and embedded coaching – in all of its forms, which they are to be credited for. Without a second thought or justification required, coaching is part of the US culture of personal development, going for gold, gutsy drive and determination made worthwhile by the results delivered.

Is it unfair of me to suggest we’re more cautious in the UK? For sure, we tend to be more reserved and drier witted. The mention of coaching, without labelling it any particular type, can actually polarize people. Some people don’t know what it is or what it involves; others can see it as a fluffy, self-indulgent process.

Then there are those individuals more familiar with the process and tools, who can be interested in the potential for improving particular aspects of their lives (personal and professional) and making changes for the better. You only have to look at The Coaching Academy to realise that coaching in the UK means business!

What’s most rewarding for me, as a coach, is the fact that it’s the people who have experienced coaching (I’m talking about coaching for improving personal or professional performance) who have become champions of the process. They regard themselves as long-term beneficiaries of the coaching skills with which they have become familiar.

The Essentials of Coaching

An essential feature of coaching is the dedicated time and space to think, analyse, review, debrief, without any risk of being judged or criticised. Sessions provide a ‘safe haven’, but, more than that, an opportunity to filter thoughts and actions, to de-clutter, to step back from pressures, strains, all of that surrounding noise and busyness, to gain some clarity, focus and a more balanced perspective. Coaching is not a talking shop; it is action and goal focused, requiring high intention and commitment by the client to move forward.

Coaching questions are key to delivering desired outcomes and changes for people. There really are those ‘WOW’ moments, when everything suddenly becomes clear, when decisions or actions that previously had felt overwhelming now present as much more straightforward and attainable.

Testimonial for Coaching

A coaching client of mine recently completed a coaching programme, so I asked him if he would provide a testimonial. I was surprised, delighted and moved by his written response.

It took us our first 2 sessions to establish a starting position for moving forward. Even then we moved forward carefully and cautiously at first, as Antony explains:

“At the first meeting Dawn was confronted with a very suspicious, angry, bitter, disempowered, disengaged, worried, deskilled, but above all, battered, bruised and very upset middle manager.

I wondered - how would you work with such an individual? But this is where Dawn’s support came to the fore.

She quickly provided me with a safe space to deposit these feelings, to discuss them, analyse the issues, the problems. When you are in this situation, you need someone to actively listen, but you also require to be challenged, probed and a range of strategies developed to find a way out through the impasse”.

Once we had broken through the initial barriers, we used visualisation to define goals and, over a period of 4 months, we tested a variety of management tools and resources. We used sessions to review what worked and what didn’t, we unpicked those factors that blocked or hindered progress.

The sessions were structured and progressive, without frills or fluff, much to the relief of Antony who describes himself as “a natural sceptic who, when the term coaching was mentioned to me, thought flipping hippy, American nonsense!”

What’s important to me, as a coach, is the realisation of people’s potential – whether relating to their personal or professional lives, or both.

A lot of people, I suspect, do not appreciate what coaching is or what it can deliver. They do, sometimes, expect the frills and fluff and maybe, even, bells and whistles.

My experience of facilitating and supporting changes for organisations and individuals, covering a quarter century, so not insignificant, convinces me that coaching needs to be understood much more than it currently is and practised more, in order to be positioned highly as a vehicle for best achievement and highest performance.

Coaching is a skilful process, using fantastic tools and techniques, delivering top results. In my opinion that is an undeniable fact!

 

Dawn Clissett

Performance Coach, Trainer & Mentor

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