What is Coaching?

Imagine. You have someone in your life that listens for your aliveness and champions your victories. This same person walks with you as you navigate challenges, holds you accountable, and helps you remember what you stand for when you’ve forgotten.

She does all this with no agenda of her own but to support you in creating a life full of what matters most to you. She welcomes all of you into your relationship. She is present with you in each moment. This is coaching.

In the book, Co-Active Coaching, Transforming Business, Changing Lives that is used in leadership development environments such as Stanford Business School, coaching is described this way:

“Coaching is not about solving problems, although problems will be solved. It is not primarily about improving performance, attaining goals, or achieving results, although all of that will certainly happen over time in an effective Co-Active coaching relationship. We believe that coaching is chiefly about discovery, awareness, and choice. It is a way of effectively empowering people to find their own answers, encouraging and supporting them on the path as they continue to make important life-giving and life-changing choices.”

Coaching evokes transformation in people, relationships and organizations. Because it makes room for all of who we are, including our spirit, it can bring possibility and inspiration where there was none, restore health and vitality, and create environments where innovation and excellence thrive.

Coaching is different from consulting in that consultants are usually providing advice while coaches are not. Consultants have a background and expertise that allow them to analyze processes and problems so that they can map out solutions.

A good coach will actually self-manage around expertise she may have in an area a client is working in so that she can support the client in coming to her own next steps and answers. Coaches and consultants can work together very effectively, and it’s important to understand their different roles.

Therapy and coaching also can walk in similar territory. While coaching may draw on past experience from time to time, its focus is on the present and future, while therapy can look more to the past to help a client understand and heal. Both can work on the emotional level and may overlap at times, however therapists and counselors are trained to look for and treat more acute or enduring emotional experiences.

A coach listens deeply and sees her clients as naturally creative, resourceful and whole. Coaching is unique partnership that supports the client in seeing and acting upon the wisdom the client holds within.

While there were many aspects of coaching that I had discovered through my work or intuitively over the past 10 years, the Co-Active Coach training and certification that I am completing has given me an integrated understanding of what it is to be a coach – in mind, body and spirit.

Coaching fosters sustainable achievement and excellence and supports clients as they traverse life’s inevitable evolution. Co-Active Coaching supports a life where who we are as just as important as what we do.

Learn more about Co-Active coaching from its co-founder here:

Henry Kimsey-House discusses the power of Co-Active Coaching from CTI on Vimeo.


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