Why I Coach
I love coaching because I am passionate about equipping people to more effective in whatever it is they want to achieve.
It is a pleasure to work with smart, motivated people who have high aspirations and the drive to achieve their goals. The people I work with generally are looking for improvement, balance and success in all spheres of their life, knowing that getting this right makes them happier people as well as better leaders.
I know coaching is effective because, as well as scientific evidence, as I have seen the positive changes in my life and others as a result of coaching.
For more on the evidence on coaching, have a look at this scholarly article:
Or watch this TED talk:
What is Coaching?
Coaching for me is all about facilitating effectiveness. As Sir John Whitmore said, it is ‘unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance’.
You can read more about the definition of coaching and how it differs from mentoring here:
The Importance of Values
How we think and act, the decisions we make, are largely dependent upon our assumptions and beliefs. Therefore our values become our compass as we navigate through life. I think it is very important and rewarding to explore values, in order to understand ourselves.
For me, this is expressed in:
- Being values centred. Understanding and living by core beliefs and values.
- Coaching effectiveness. Developing the full potential of self and others.
- Being mission focussed. Keeping the end in mind; being focussed on the next goal and determined in gaining progress.
- Providing diplomatic leadership. Serving to lead; by example but with humility.
- Having an international strategic outlook. The world is at our front door, so travel light and leverage small tactical gains to win long-term strategic success.
You can read more about the importance of values by following this link:
Coaching is a Relationship
To understand coaching you have to experience it. That is why I get the vast majority of my clients through referrals of people that I have coached. When someone is referred to me I offer an initial session of at least 90 minutes where they can experience coaching first hand and all parties can decide that the coaching partnership is the right thing.
Coaching is a relationship developed by 4 Cs:
- Competence keeps it professional,
- Character keeps it effective,
- Chemistry makes it fun, and
- Confidentiality maintains trust.
Coaching Should Provide a Thinking Environment
I am primarily a coach, rather than a mentor. As a coach, I am not seeking to impose my answers but rather I endeavour to create the best thinking environment for the coachee. I have been greatly influenced by Nancy Kline’s approach to coaching as outlined in her excellent book, Time to Think.
You can find out more by reading my post:
I coach in many and various ways, both in-person and remotely, but my preferred way is coaching one-to-one while walking.
Part of this is because I love getting outside and being active. But it is not just personal preference. We spend a lot of time in offices, on devices and caught up with the busyness of life. Getting out for a walk is an antidote to all of that and therefore can open up new perspectives.
The metaphor that life is a journey is a popular one because it is true in so many senses. Coaching is about going on a journey together and walking helps to embody this sense of purpose, direction and forward momentum. This physiological approach has a positive effect on our psychology.
If you like this approach you are in good company. Many highly respected and successful people have discovered the power of going for a walk to think, be creative and productive. Famous examples include businessman Steve Jobs, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Daniel Kahnemann, and poet William Wordsworth.
You can read more about the benefits of walking here:
Coaching is a journey for the coach as well as the coachee. I continually seek to develop myself and therefore I have my own coach.
I have leadership responsibilities outside of being a coach. As well as running my own business I lead in various other contexts to make sure that I am keeping relevant and putting what I say into practice. As per Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this is part of my work to ‘sharpen the saw’.
How Long and How Many Coaching Sessions Should you do?
There is no one size fits all approach to coaching. I do not have a fixed number of length of sessions; instead, I tailor a programme that suits the coachee and what they want to achieve.
I prefer to book sessions for longer periods of time, most frequently 60-90 minutes, in order to give space for some really good thinking, but this is a guideline, not a rule. Sometimes it will take a day to explore an issue in-depth, at other times a quick 5 to 10-minute phone call is all someone needs.
Because of this bespoke approach and the desire to commit the appropriate time to them I keep my number of clients small. This means I have to be selective in whom I coach.