What does coaching mean to you? What does coaching mean at work? All of us have taken on the role of student or teacher/trainer/coach at some point in our lives. This can be at school, in the home or at the workplace. We tend to associate it with mentoring, counselling and training. There are, however, key differences. By understanding the definition of coaching, we can adopt a better approach in helping others learn or seek the right skilled people to assist.
What does coaching mean to me?
Coaching is me trying to help my kids develop in competitive tennis as well as their studies. As a business analysis consultant, it is also me trying to train and mentor my clients in understanding and applying different analysis techniques. I always thought it was coaching but I have come to realise that I have totally misunderstood it.
Coaching is about helping others learn from their own experiences
I realised that I have been imparting my knowledge upon others and sharing my own experiences, thinking that it was coaching. “Son, you got to hit it with more top spin!” or “Buddy, this is a better way to run the analysis” or “From my experience, this method has a lot of challenges”. Pretty much centred on me, don’t you think?
Why does helping others learn from their own experiences matter?
Based on my research, allowing others to self-explore their learning process, helps unlock their latent source of productivity. When one discovers the cause and effect of their actions, they encounter their “AH-HA” moment!
This builds confidence. When you uncover ways to improve your own process, you gain self-belief and confidence. Taking my son’s tennis as an example, me telling him how to hit his groundstrokes during a match is likely to have little impact on his confidence. Giving him the environment to hit and experiment with his groundstrokes and analyse his own results, will likely give him a better belief in his ability to face future challenges.
Coaching is a guided process
- helping others understand their own processes through the power of questions. For example, what do you think went well? What do you think you could have done better?
- focusing on the learn and active listening with empathy
- helping the learner come to their own conclusion and answers
A coach is a partner, advocate and champion!
- A coach says what needs to be said, providing the learner with visibility of their actions (which they may not be aware of)
- The person being coached owns the agenda
- A coach listens attentively and doesn’t dominate the conversation
- The person being coached owns the outcome and results
- A coach does not steer the outcome
- After each session, a coach advocates commitment from the learner
Recommended Reading on Coaching
The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
The book takes a look at how to unlock potential of people by saying less and focussing on 7 categories of questions.
Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth
An impactful and practical book that explores the way to help someone learn and change. It takes a look at how helping someone change cannot be focused solely on problem fixing. Instead, we need to connect to that person’s positive dream or goal
The writers leverage emotional real-life stories, and decades of research, to show how this positive mode of coaching allows people to think creatively, learn and grow.
Youtube Resources on What Does Coaching Mean?
A video highlighting the differences between coaching and training
Check out this coaching skills demonstration to understand the definition of coaching
If you are interested in coaching, I highly recommend this short video. It speaks about the 3 core coaching skills: listening, thinking and speaking like a coach.
A favourite video of mine. Brett Ledbetter explores how to focus on the process instead of the end results. Something that I’m trying to apply when guiding my kids in their competitive tennis journey.