What is a coach?

We often get asked the following question when talking to people about personal development or business development coaching:

What is a coach?

Most people immediately think of the characteristics of a coach working with athletes. Although they share some similar characteristics to a personal or business development coach, such as keeping individuals motivated and setting challenging yet achievable goals; there are some other very specific qualities a coach possesses to be able to effectively do the job.

A coach helps a client work towards a desired future position, either within their personal or business affairs, which may currently seem challenging or even impossible. They can work with both new or existing businesses and individuals from all walks of life. They are very useful to work with to establish change before a situation starts to hurt too much, or irreversible damage is done as a result of pursuing the wrong avenue for too long.

A coach forms a dual partnership with a client to work with the information and talents possessed by them to facilitate a pathway towards solving a problem, making changes, or exploring the viability of various avenues. A coach allows a client to lead change while acting as a facilitator. A coach is non-judgemental, impartial, and respects the confidentiality of the client’s situation.

A coach also assists a client with developing clarity within their personal or business affairs, and helps highlight the strengths and talents they already hold (some of which they may not be aware of), as well as assisting with the development of new ones. A crucial element to the role of a coach is to improve a client’s focus and direction through helping them set relevant goals and action plans.

Prior to setting any goals a coach would help the client determine exactly what it is that they are trying to achieve, and this would involve the client thoroughly exploring their thinking by answering some very specific and challenging questions. Many of these questions would never have even entered the client’s mind, which is why a coach can be incredibly useful in helping one determine what they want to do (or do not want to do) and how they should go about planning to do it. This can save a lot of time and money! To be able to ask powerful questions, a coach observes the client carefully and listens to what they are saying very intently.

While working towards a goal a coach helps the client with staying motivated and maintaining their self-belief about achieving it. It is not the responsibility of a coach to improve a client’s affairs for them, but to assist them with making crucial decisions and acting upon them in a structured manner. A coach is also allowed to give the client useful feedback if requested or urgently needed.

To be clear, a coach is not a counsellor, therapist, consultant, mentor, teacher or trainer. A coach is known as a facilitator; someone with the perfect mix of qualities to assist with facilitating change in the client’s chosen area of life or business.

Written by Prashant Jadav. For more information about coaching and personal development support, please get in touch here.