Coaching is often thought as a technique where individuals are taught to focus on their goals and strive to work towards them. However, coaching is not that. Coaching empowers individuals discover their unique talents or gifts. It helps them maximize their potential to achieve success that they desire. A coach helps an individual to gain self-awareness, clarify their goals, instead of telling them what their goals are, and assist in developing strategies to attain their goals. In short, the coaching program helps individuals to be their best now by fostering to think independently. Coaching may sound like therapy, but it is not, even though there are elements of therapy used in coaching as well.
There is not definite time-frame for coaching. It varies depending on the need of and issues faced by the client, the approach the coach uses, the policies of the client company etc. HR professionals who have the initial talks with the coaches prefer around three months of engagement between the coach and the coached. The most accepted time-gap between two meetings are a week or two. Professional coaches are experts who understand their client needs and tailor the coaching program accordingly.
The exercises, activities and materials used by the coach are designed to help the coached alter the way of thinking and perspectives and create awareness of potentials and possibilities. Introducing the Urgent- Important Matrix to an individual who has issues with time-management or giving the homework of talking to the family instead of spending time on gadgets to someone who complains about lack of work-life balance are examples.
Feedback happens during the course of the program to enable to coached know whether he/she is on track by evaluating how much of learning has gone into practice and what action has been taken thus far. The feedback given to the coached must be direct, specific, timely and behaviour-specific and not person specific.
Commitment and accountability on the part of the coach and the coached is the foundation of the coaching program without which it is not possible to continue the coaching process. The coached should be able to take responsibility of the strategies devised by the coach and the coached together and the final outcomes. Only if he/she feels the need to be accountable of the entire coaching process, he/she would critically analyze the ideas, information and questions involved in the process.
We, at Strengthscape, have our own methodology for coaching called the DANCE methodology. It is a step-by-step process.
We start with the Discovery session (D of our methodology DANCE). Once the goals are set, the coach and the coached usually meet or converse on phone every fortnight. The journey consists of a number of cycles. Each cycle lasts from 4 to 6 months. The following steps are facilitating self – Awareness in the coached, coach and the coached, together developing a New strategy to attain the goals, executing the strategies to Combat the obstacles and finally the coached celebrates the achievement in the last step of Elevate and Acknowledge.