My musing on the definition of coaching
Can you define what a coach is? When thinking about what the definition of coaching is it got me wondering how did we ever get pegged with the title “coach”? The main picture that comes to mind when I think of a coach is a sports coach. You know, the coach is the loud guy on the side lines yelling out commands to the players… the one who pushes them hard through their workouts… the guy who expects more of his players than they think they are capable of. I just don’t picture myself as that guy.
Comparison between sports coaching and life coaching
However, upon further scrutiny and thought, I do see some similarities between life coaching and a sports coach. There’s more to a sports coach than I have described above. Let’s take a football coach for example; he is assumed to know more about the game having had previous experience and knowledge, and his job is to transfer as much of his knowledge and experience to the players as he can. (This compares to our life and professional experience.) The football coach studies playing techniques and tailors a game plan to his players according to their strengths and weaknesses. (This compares to discovering our client’s strengths and weaknesses and focusing on their strengths.)
In sports, the coach sees the potential of each player and tries to make sure each one is in the right position. (This compares to finding out our clients passion and getting them in the right place.) The football coach pushes his players until they stretch beyond their comfort zone. He makes them practice over and over until they get good at the game. (This compares to us helping our clients stretch beyond their limiting beliefs and helping them take risks.) The sports coach holds his players accountable. He expects them to give their best, to show up to practice on time and to put in more hours of personal practice outside of team practice. (This compares to holding clients accountable to their action plan as well as showing up to coaching sessions.)
Oh my, I digress from the definition! However, there are striking similarities between life coaching and sports coaching after all. And now, going back to my original question. What is the definition of coaching?
Here’s my definition of coaching.
There are just about as many definitions of coach styles as there are types of coaches which is a lot. But this is how I see it, coaching is the practice of supporting a person who is being coached, referred to as a client or a coachee, through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result. There are many methodologies and mindsets, types or niches but predominantly each methodology uses the same structure to facilitate the end result, that being the coach mainly listens and asks questions until a shift or transformation occurs. Then the coachee is challenged to take action on that with the coach holding them accountable.
Coaches move their client from the present to the future and they don’t worry about the past. This differs from therapy which is mostly focused on looking at the clients past, or consulting in that the counselor gives information about the ‘how to’s’, or a mentor who imparts wisdom and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague, or tutors who are teachers, or counselors who give advice.
If you have further observations on the definition of coaching, please post your comments below.
Spiritual Growth Coach
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