To understand why coaching works, you first need to understand what coaching is.

A surprising number of people get that part wrong and reject coaching, because they think it is all about giving advice or training, counselling or psychotherapy, or even showing someone how to do something. Wrong.

The ILM definition of coaching is: “The coach seeks to develop and improve an individual coachee’s performance by unlocking their capabilities through guided conversation and questioning.”

Essentially, it is about bringing out the best in someone and this is something I was asked to talk about at the recent Bibby Line Group HR Conference.

This is generally about helping people to help themselves, finding the answers within the coachee, as it is normally a case of helping them to think through a challenge. The best solution normally comes from the mind which holds the problem.

When coachees find their own answers, they are more likely to take greater responsibility and ownership of the solution.

As one coachee told me: “Just saying things out loud helps me to sort things out in my head.”

It’s not always that simple, but there is a lot to be said for the time which is dedicated to coaching, because it takes you away from the day to day hustle and bustle. Time is such a rare commodity these days, so it really can help to clarify issues to make that break from the normal routine.

Coaching should be considered for a number of reasons, whether training has not had sufficient impact, or when early signs of stress are beginning to show, or simply to provide extra support. It’s also really valuable to develop those with high potential within an organisation. It is particularly helpful for Directors and senior people high level leadership can create isolation, stresses and problems previously not encountered.

A good coach will cultivate trust through sincerity and great rapport, helping the coachee to be resourceful, focusing on solutions, rather than problems.

By creating such a relationship and an atmosphere of trust, ‘light bulb moments’ really do happen.

Sharon Klein is a director of Azure Consulting, a Yorkshire-based specialist in leadership development. 01924 385600.

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