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Annie Hayes

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What is coaching? … continued

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Business coaches on the other hand don’t often find themselves with the luxury of being able to pick and choose the people or the level to which they are pre-trained before they meet them.

The business coach accepts whomsoever is encountered and is prepared to take on the man in the street with the same enthusiasm and the same end in mind as the business athlete.

For the business athlete the coach is starting with a person already trained and fit, he has the tools he requires and the value added comes from the softer, guidance, facilitative and support skills of the coach.

The man in the street, at the opposite end of the spectrum cannot respond to the softer skills because he has not even begun to learn the language that would allow him to appreciate the concepts.

At the base level there is a man who first wants to know what empowerment means before he can consider the relevance of the concept and begin to think about a strategy to implement it in the workplace.

The word coaching and the initial narrow definition of the word does not cover the teaching, training and mentoring which has to occur first to prepare John Doe for the one to one coaching relationship.

Without the groundwork, the preparation and education, we cannot get to that one to one relationship.

The business coach expands his offer to the client by including these hard skills.

By transferring those (hard) skills to the clients, through teaching or training, the coach adds immediate value, at the same time preparing the coachee for the subsequent one to one coaching relationship (the softer skills) that will aid the clients progress to the next level of performance.

The two groups of skills;

The harder skills:
Predominantly for the man without a formal business education (non-athlete)

  • Teaching.

  • Training.

  • Mentoring.

The soft skills:
Predominantly for the business athlete

  • Guiding.

  • Facilitation.

  • Support.

In a practical situation there will always be an overlap between the two groups but by ensuring that the hard skills are in place first the business coach can fine tune their use and measure the return created by the coaching intervention.

Where these hard skills are not in place, or have been neglected, it will be very difficult for the coach or the client to discern a return on their investment.

There are no rules, but you do have to know them. (Myles Downie – Author, “Effective Coaching”)

Peter A Hunter is author of Breaking the Mould.

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Annie Hayes

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