Coaching — A Partnership Dedicated to Taking Your Personal or Professional Life to the Next Level — continued
Sometimes we just need someone to whisper in our ears and sit on our heads until we finally do something in our own interests.
— Cameron Powell, Head Coach
The client of coaching is someone who wants something — virtually anything — sooner and with more certainty of getting it. It could be higher performance, learning, satisfaction, career advancement, better relationships, or enhanced quality of life. Clients are not directly attempting, through coaching, to address emotional pain or psychological disorders. (See “The Difference Between Coaching and Counseling”). Coachable clients are functioning well and are able to take action towards their goals with the support of a coach. We focus on the present and the future and discuss the past primarily in order to clarify where the client is today. Coaching does not depend on resolving issues of the past in order to move forward.
The nature of the coaching relationship is the very foundation of its success. Coach and client are co-equals and partners. Mutual appreciation and respect are not just a by-product of the time we spend together but the engine of our success. A rarity in relationships, we are collaborators in a joint enterprise centered on you, the client. At Feroce, our philosophy is that clients already have many of the answers within them, and to the extent that’s the case, it’s the coach’s job to draw them out.
Coaches do not assume the posture of expert or authority. The client and his or her coach jointly choose the topics of their work together, the format, and the outcomes the client desires. The coach’s responsibility is the process; the client’s responsibility is the outcome. Coaches are for the emotionally mature. If you imagine that a coach can single-handedly turn your life around, you are probably not yet coachable, that is, not a candidate for coachability under Feroce’s ethical guidelines. (See “Performance Coaching: Are You Coachable?”) A coach is someone you retain only when you are ready. To go with you to that next, elusive step.
Information shared by the coaching client is confidential. It is used for the client’s benefit, and is not provided to others or used to evaluate performance for anyone but the client.
For a more detailed look at the Coaching Relationship, see the Feroce Coaching Relationship and Process.
Feroce Coaching supports clients in identifying and then doing what they really want to do in their lives and careers, their businesses and professions.
For most of us, that’s the hard part: a lot of us don’t even know what we want to do, or at least think we don’t, and while some of us do know what we want, we don’t know how to get there, or need a bit of help in unearthing the courage we already have. But if it’s fear that keeps us from admitting that we already know where we want to be, a coach is a stalwart ally in confronting and overwhelming the fears that hold you back.
The scope of coaching is virtually unbounded. Client and coach have complete freedom to address a wide spectrum of personal and professional matters. And we alone decide on the scope of our work together.
The International Coach Federation defines coaching broadly as “an interactive process that helps individuals and organizations to develop more rapidly and produce more satisfying results.” At Feroce, we believe there is rarely such a thing as a “type” or “field” of coaching, wherein life coaches could be considered somehow different from relationship coaches. It’s not. There is a reason all coaching is very much the same, and an interesting consequence of that sameness.
The reason there is no real distinction between, say, life or personal coaching on the one hand executive coaching on the other, is that these titles describe only the client of coaching, not the work itself. That is, they describe the buyer of the services and perhaps even how that client presents him- or herself or (if a company) itself.
But the techniques and methods of coaching are the same throughout, because all coaching comes down to the process of facilitating human beings in the discovery or expansion of their humanity, their insight, and their accountability to themselves. Even if you are an executive who seeks “executive” coaching, you know there is no such thing as skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are used in, and useful in, only the boardroom or office. Y ou are on a mission to enhance your effective personhood, not your, shall we say, executiveness.
What is the consequence of coaching being the same no matter who the client is? Well, it means that subject matter expertise is often irrelevant. To be a career coach, it may help to have some knowledge of career resources, of course. The same is true for specialty aspects of business coaching, entrepreneurship coaching, or leadership coaching. But in general, you should opt for a coach with superb coaching skills and chemistry over a coach with subject matter expertise.
Coaches presume you are the expert on you. Unlike other practices (consulting, some fields of therapy), a coach does not need to be an expert in the field of your goals in order to coach you on the process of achieving those goals – in fact, a generalist can sometimes help you more than any specialist. That’s because coaches are experts in process — in the methodology of asking powerful questions that help you to clarify your values and goals. And coaches are experts in defining, leading you to, and declaring the attainment (or lack thereof) of outcomes. They don’t need to be experts in subjects like your psychology or even human psychology, though many are. If expertise matters at all in a given situation, the expertise is yours, the client’s.
Clients hire coaches for support and comradeship in reaching goals in areas as diverse as business, executive, leadership, career, financial, health and relationships. And at Feroce we also offer specialties such as spiritual coaching, parenting coaching, and individual speech coaches. The coached client sets better goals, takes more action, makes better decisions, and more fully uses his or her natural strengths.
A coach is part of a profession new in name but as old as recorded history in function. Throughout history, successful people – and at Feroce our definition of success is so real that successful people are not necessarily those you would have reason to have heard of – have had the self-awareness and emotional intelligence to ally themselves with friends and confidants, advisors and partners, mentors and guides, peers and supporters of their enterprises, consultants, and, in athletic endeavors, even coaches.
The synonyms for those who care for us and are committed to our growth and success are as plentiful as mythology’s hero of a thousand faces. Since we began to call it coaching in the mid-1980s, we now have “coaches,” who differ from the previous archetypes in various ways. Yet those differences are precisely the source of the power and effectiveness that is causing more and more people to hire their own chief of staff.
• Social Contract. Coaching relies on one of the most powerful forces in the world: the power of the social contract and commitment. For the same reason that public marriage vows tend to keep people together longer than they would in its absence, for the same reason we try harder to keep New Year’s resolutions we have shared with others, coaching is effective because you have made a promise to someone other than yourself – a public or social contract.
• A coach has you as his full-time job. Unlike even a friend, a coach is wholly and formally committed and dedicated to your success, uses rigorous and proven training and techniques to assist you in getting there, and will always (not just most of the time) speak the truth to and challenge you when you could most benefit from it.
• Sometimes we want help but don’t need a therapist: a coach drives a future of high functioning. Unlike a therapist in a strictly counseling format, a coach focuses not on the past but on the future, and supports you not in analyzing dysfunction but in functioning at an even higher level than you already are. For more on this topic, see our article on “The Difference Coaching and Counseling”.
• A coach leads you to answers that are often inside you. Unlike a consultant, who purports to be a subject-matter expert and creates most of any plan of action, a coach is an expert on, if anything, process and motivation, and simply guides you in the creation of most of your own plan of action. We believe and have seen that people are fundamentally creative and resourceful; our job is to show you how to tap into that creativity and those resources. You can find out more about our Feroce Coaching Philosophy.
As we explained when discussing the coaching relationship, because coaching is a collaborative venture between partners, coach and client jointly arrange the schedule and means of contact. Virtually all coaching is done by phone and email, though exceptions warrant discussion.
Contact us about coaching now.
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