At New Results we do a lot of work on coaching; between us we’ve got over 30 years of experience. It’s worth setting out what we mean when we talk about coaching.
The fascinating thing for me is the more we speak to people in the marketplace, the more we see these varied approaches and varied descriptions people associate with the word ‘coaching’.
I think the big one a lot of people tend to choose is ‘sport’. They see sports coaches – where somebody is stood at the side of a pitch bellowing instructions at people.
Now, from my perspective, you couldn’t get any further away from what a real coach is. We discuss this a lot at New Results; the bit that we really focus on is what we’d call ‘non-directive coaching’.
Coaching is about asking rather than telling
It’s that ability of a coach to ‘ask’ rather than ‘tell’ – and it’s that little bit about unlocking a coachee’s potential by helping them to think and reframe. We call it “getting outside of the box”. Where they exist “inside of the box” with: their issues, their goals, their opportunities, they can’t see beyond it. Coaching for me is much more about “pulling people out of that box”; allowing them to explore new opportunities, new ways of thinking but it’s definitely not about telling.
Help your coachee to come up with their own solutions
Actually, one of the big things that people confuse is the difference between ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’. The fascinating bit for me is if you know how to mentor somebody from a position of experience, that’s very much about tell. But coaching is very much about that unlocking, it’s that asking, it’s that exploring and helping your coachee to really come up with their own ideas and solutions. Why not take a look at our blog Developing your coaching approach?
To summarise, the mentor is the expert – the relationship is critical between the mentor and the mentee. The mentor (as the expert) shares that knowledge and they tell, there’s a lot of telling involved. Whilst the coach has to be an expert in coaching and in particular really good at drawing out somebody’s ideas and exploring that thought; the key bit is questioning.
If you are new to coaching you may want to take a look at one of our free resources Planning your coaching session.
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