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06 June 2019

People are happiest when they have a sense that they are improving and growing.

Ordinary people achieve extraordinary results in business. For many people these results are achieved through and with the support of coaching. The term coaching has been around in business for much of the last decade, and yet still has varied interpretations.

Simply defined, coaching is one person guiding another through a process, leading to performance enhancement. The applications can vary: support to achieve a specific project, helping an individual to do better when they already do well, or developing a skill they don't yet possess.

What is coaching?

Coaching focuses on future possibilities and utilises learning from past experiences. Coaching is more about how things are done, rather than what things are done. It is about unlocking a person's potential and maximising their performance. It is about helping people to discover answers for themselves rather than advising.

Coaching works on resolving problems below the level where they occur. For example, belief and values drive behaviours and beliefs and values come from our identity. Therefore, working with a problem that manifests itself at the level of behaviour, means the coach working with you at the level of beliefs and values. It is like peeling away the top layers of an onion to discover that the problem lies at the core. Coaching done well is about working at the core, which resolves not only the presenting problem but also problems which at the time are not even manifesting themselves yet.

Coaching is about building a relationship which is based on choices rather than advice. For Gradvert, coaching is holistic, it takes into account the whole person and the complete range of issues which require resolution of improvement. Coaching is a way of thinking, a way of being, and a way of accelerating development.

Why should organisations use coaching?

Coaching is a lever for unleashing potential! A tool for unlocking performance and an approach to change. It can be used to enhance the performance of the coachees. Once that performance is unleashed, that automatically means change in thinking, doing and acting.

Many successful companies today are going through continuous change, which results in greater ownership for employees. They take responsibility for their own functions, which opens up their thinking to new and more effective ways of working. In companies such as IBM, coaching supports new thinking, which leads to continuous improvement change process.

Focused coaching can and does improve performance in individuals, teams and the organisation itself. Over the last three years there has been widespread growth of interest in one to one coaching, with individuals recognising the benefits that this approach can bring to their own performance and success.

Company Directors and Senior Management

Due to the pace of change, directors and senior managers may find themselves working outside their area of knowledge, comfort and influence - sometimes operating in unexplored areas. Isolated from others, they are looking for a sounding board - a safe environment outside the organisation. a personal coach who can release blockages and move you towards action and desired results, is paramount to your continued success.

Middle Managers and Teams

More and more requests for coaching are coming from managers or teams who are stuck in a double bind. On the one hand, their job description requires them to work in a particular way - to have a set of operating values which support their approach to working. On the other hand, their immediate seniors, or their organisation, have opposing behaviours and values, therefore offering little support. In this situation a coach can help move teams or managers forward, developing patterns or strategies which consistently deliver success.

There is coaching and then there is coaching! In a working day, everyone can take time to listen and ask questions of others in a way that helps them to recognise achievements and think through challenges, it's the start of creating a coaching culture. For me, being a coach is about working with individuals to help them recognise their uniqueness. A good coach can inspire and motivate someone to understand how much they are truly capable of and then help them set out on that path. For me there is nothing more rewarding.

Alison Burgess

It's when you coach on a one to one basis that you actually see the levels of confidence, awareness and ownership grow and grow. You see people empowering themselves and instead of asking questions, they solve problems and challenges for themselves. It's a clear showcase of the love of learning between two people. You don't need to have all the answers, you can both figure it out together. Coaching is an evolving process, it isn't a timeline and there is no start and end point. It's dynamic.

Alan Shaw

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