The term “Coach” is especially fickle. Trainers in football and other sports, Tutors in scientific education, and also managers and project heads certainly consider themselves coaches. The interpretation of the concept and thus practical acting of all these persons varies widely. And consequently a clear and common understanding of “Coaching” is evolving even in business only slowly.
Firstly, “Coaching” means personal responsibility of the client for his or her development as basis philosophy and ultimate goal. Only secondly it’s about methods and approaches, utilizing scientific insight and especially specific methods.
Topics of this work are typically
- Further development of client’s business, and
- Organisation (hierarchy, processes…) thereof,
- Forming and understanding personal relationships,
- Planning and deciding next career moves,
- Considering specific questions and initiatives,
- Exercising new behaviours straightaway,
- Reflection of varied issues and likewise preparation of decisions.
The issues, brought forward by the client (also “coachee”), are worked on in (obviously not too long) sessions. Yet, starting from this original question, coaching subsequently moves on to neighbouring topics.
Basically, restraint by the manager is the methodic core when doing “Coaching”. He or she consequently neither advises, explains, supports, intervenes, helps, nor trains! (Self-)Reflection, understanding of self, development of practical alternatives to “proven” approaches, both starting from already present competencies of the client and going forward to new initiatives are in the foreground. Thus, what’s the use if the client has to do all that him- or herself, ultimately? In Psychodrama we have the funny proverb about “situative stupefaction when topic is oneself”. And we surely have to overcome this!
“He (or she) who asks, leads” is particularly true here too, of course. Nevertheless, this approach, emphasizing asking, must not be done in a goading or manipulative way. Contrarily, the statements or answers of the client are further explored through continuous questions; systemic asking has soon morphed into a method of its own.
Evidently, there are more exercises and procedures for specific reflections: visualisation, Life-Line exercise, the MBTI, our own instrument for Work-Life-Balance diagnosis…
- Firstly establish a “Contract”, the agreement on the mandate in the beginning: “What is this all about, who’s responsible for what?”.
- Secondly utilize a wide variety of methods and consequently maintain flexibility in their utilization. Personal preferences or detailled, let alone standardized planning of the procedure by the coach has to be avoided. A very “situational” approach is needed.
- Thirdly, Coaching is not about elegant hypothesies or glorious “action”, but patience – and lastly about practicability for the client!