“If I want a coach I’ll go to Victoria Station!” The immortal – and now 3 decades old- words of my brother-in-law, James, still resound in my ears: retaliation, no doubt, to advice from some inflated upstart. And how I agreed and still agree. So, despite being a ‘coach’ myself these days, the term is always a tricky one for me.
What exactly IS coaching? Like James so articulately put, it sounds like high-handed advising from someone who thinks they are wiser than you, who in fact knows nothing about your life and has not walked a mile in your moccasins so to speak. Incredibly irritating, patronising and even damaging.
Luckily, coaching is exactly not this. It isn’t advising or mentoring, directing or pointing the way. It also isn’t psychotherapy or counselling. It doesn’t require you to dig deep into your past or explore your grievances against your parents, although you may wish to look at relationships. That is up to you.
Coaching is founded in the here and now and is about the present and the future. It is a series of techniques designed to help individuals find their power, their voice and their way. The most important and fundamental of those techniques are active listening coupled with respect for the client’s unique journey.
It is as far from advising as it is possible to be.
I have found that it is perfectly fine to coach friends, even family as long as the coach is not invested in controlling outcomes. Instead I find I am inspired by my clients’ resourcefulness, standpoint, choices and journey – things that I could not possibly give to them - but that the coaching hour can help them to uncover for themselves.
Coaching is particularly helpful at those important moments, crucial, critical pivotal moments: a redundancy, a change of path or career, or the start of a career or course of study; a time of loss or gain. Coaching is most useful in times of change.
If this sounds like you, please give me a call. I usually book blocks of 4 or 6 sessions with a client after a preliminary chat.
Or of course, there’s always Victoria Station!