The definition of coaching by ICF is the most universally recognized one in the coaching industry. It is a definition you will see repeatedly everywhere even on non-coaching business websites and blog pages.
The Definition of Coaching by ICF
What is Coaching?
The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. However, one of the best definitions I have read on coaching is by The Institute For Life Coach Training. They simply define coaching as “a professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations, helping them to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. ”
Unlike training, the coach may not be an expert in the client’s particular field. In coaching, we see the clients as the experts on their own lives and the coach’s job is to listen, make observations, ask powerful questions, and hold up a mirror to help the clients see what they may not see in themselves.
Does Coaching Works?
Recent surveys done have shown that coaching does work. Several people from all walks of life are turning to coaches to assist them with their life issues and the numbers keep growing. This proves that coaching works.
According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study, coaching does work. The study shows most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness, and more growth and opportunities. The same study found that coaching clients noted greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communication skills, better work-and-life balance and an improvement in wellness.
What Coaching is Not
So now that we know what coaching is, let us look at what coaching is not. There has been so much misunderstanding and confusion on what coaching actually is amongst people unfamiliar to the field of coaching. To help better understand the differences between coaching and the professions below, the following information has been provided
1. Therapy or Counseling: Therapy typically focuses on healing the wounds of the past. It deals with healing pain, dysfunction, and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hinders or obstructs an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth. It focuses primarily on the future. Coaching is for those who are emotionally and mentally healthy and ready to grow. The emphasis on a coaching relationship is on action, accountability, and follow-through.
2. Mentoring: Mentoring has to do with providing advice and solutions to the challenges clients are facing. A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling but focuses instead on the individual or group to reach their own objectives.
3. Training: Unlike coaching, training sessions are usually learning focused. They are structured, formal and typically done in group settings. It involves the imparting or transferring of knowledge from the trainer to the client through writing, instruction, hands-on projects, etc. Coaching is more development-focused and done often in a group or individual setting. With training, there may be an assessment at the end of the training to evaluate whether the participant or client has gained a thorough understanding of the subject matter.
The most substantial thing to obtain from the definition of coaching by ICF is the act of partnering with your client in a thought-provoking and creative process which means being able to cause your clients to ponder or reflect deeply about their situation; resulting in them eagerly implementing the appropriate actions to achieve their desired outcomes.
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Writer, Coaches Training Blog community