A leadership (or executive) coach is a person who partners with a leader, working together to raise the leader’s self-awareness and empowerment. During a defined coaching programme the coach uses a set of tools and techniques to enable the client to achieve their goals and overcome hurdles by themselves.
In a very real sense the coach is there to partner with the client. They don’t have goals of their own. The goals for the coaching programme are defined by the client, but the coach commits to using his or her skills and training to work with the client in pursuit of their goals.
I often joke that a coach gets an easy ride, since it’s the client who does all the work. Yet this is the essence and power of coaching: the coach offers support and a safe place for the client to be vulnerable and test their ideas of how to proceed, but ultimately the action is all taken by the client.
What sort of “work”?
The majority of most coaching programmes will be talking. In general with the coach asking relevant, open questions that raise the client’s self-awareness, as they share what they are thinking.
But it might well also include movement or body work, role-play, writing, drawing, or any of a number of other techniques that will serve the goal.
We Coach You Grow specialises in Startup Founders, because we believe those that start their own businesses with ambitions for growth are particularly in need of self-starting self-awareness and to be able to solve their own problems.
Coaching can be helpful for any leader who wants to be able to see their own path and reduce the friction in walking it.
“Self-awareness and empowerment”
Coaches have various views of what the core foundation of coaching is, but most will mention highly what I feel to be the anchor: self-awareness.
By knowing our strengths and how we are at our best (and yes, a bit about our weaknesses) we can always find a way to any goal. It might not be easy, but the more you understand yourself, the clearer the route will be. By empowering the client, through raising this awareness, and often the client’s self-belief, the coach helps to unlock the client’s potential.
“Coaching programme”, “Tools and techniques”
Coaching isn’t simply an open-ended, cosy chat. Far from it. It’s a targeted intervention keenly focused on a particular goal.
This is always held in the coach’s mind, and they’ll select the tools and techniques that their training and experience tells them will drive the effort towards the goal.
“Enable”, “By Themselves”
Ultimately, however, the work is done by the client. By bringing presence and an open-mind to the sessions, and commitment to action and change to their whole life, a client soon discovers that they can achieve far more than their previously negative thoughts might have led them to believe.
A coach believes their client to be infinitely resourceful. They commit to help to bring out as much of this resource as the client is willing to give.
By doing so, together, this partnership enables amazing possibilities.