The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach's responsibility is to:
Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
Encourage client self-discovery
Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
Hold the client responsible and accountable
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.
How is coaching distinct from other service professions?
Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand coaching by distinguishing it from other personal or organizational support professions.
Therapy: Therapy 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 hamper 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 based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one's work or personal life. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.
What are some typical reasons someone might work with a coach?
An individual or team might choose to work with a coach for many reasons, including but not limited to the following:
Something urgent, compelling or exciting is at stake (a challenge, stretch goal or opportunity)
A gap exists in knowledge, skills, confidence or resources
A desire to accelerate results
A lack of clarity with choices to be made
Success has started to become problematic
Work and life are out of balance, creating unwanted consequences
Core strengths need to be identified, along with how best to leverage them
Source: International Coach Federation – Sections retrieved from: http://www.coachfederation.org/need/landing.cfm?ItemNumber=978&navItemNumber=567