The Heart of Coaching, Part 1: What is it?

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” – Timothy Gallwey

As our world continues to struggle with adversity through challenges like managing a pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and leading through an unstable economy, we are seeing leaders need support more than ever.

We are navigating extreme complexity in our organizations while doing our best to support human connection – something that most of us are somewhat out of practice with these days. Most leaders tell us they are simply exhausted.

With so many organizations hungry for additional ways to find support and increase well-being at work, we are seeing a massive uptick in coaching requests in the entire profession. Yet we are also seeing an increase in confusion.

We would like to clarify questions around the coaching journey over our next three newsletters starting with an overview of coaching.

What is coaching?

The first thing to know is what coaching isn’t. Certified coaches know that coaching isn’t advising, teaching, mentoring or therapy. There are some parallels to these types of conversations, yet coaching is distinctly different.

Coaching draws out the intelligence and wisdom of the client rather than taking on a role of advising or being an expert consultant. The aim of coaching is to support the development of the client as a leader who is thriving at work and in life. Although the coaching methodology is different from therapeutic or counseling approaches, coaching does address personal issues or life conditions that affect professional effectiveness.

What does coaching do?

  • Help you raise your awareness, shed behaviors which do not serve you, and co-create behaviors that do.

  • Pay attention to you as a whole person taking into account your emotional, physical, and mental well-being.

  • Be supportive and come from a place of curiosity point of view; no judgement or criticism are invited to the conversation.

What are common goals of a leader?

  • Managing complexity/leading the system.

  • Building individual and organizational resilience.

  • Combating imposter syndrome.

  • Cultivating executive presence.

  • Improving effective communication.

  • Deepening EQ and social justice.

What is the ROI?

Leaders who work with a coach increase productivity by 86% compared to 22%of training alone. Executive coaching’s effect revealed an average ROI of 5.7 times the initial investment or a return of over $100k (Manchester Inc. study).

According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), “86% of organizations saw an ROI on their Coaching engagements, and 96% of those who had an Executive Coach said they would repeat the process again.”

“Behind these results were tangible as well as intangible factors. Tangible factors were areas such as increased productivity, higher levels of overall employee performance, reduced costs, growth in revenue and sales, higher employee retention, and higher engagement of employees. Intangible factors were increased confidence of those being coached, improved communication, stronger employee, and peer-to-peer and key stakeholder relationships.”

We hope you have a better understanding of coaching and what it entails. Stay tuned for part 2 where we discuss who should get coached, followed by part 3 on expectations of the experience.

Here are articles we found helpful on the topic:

Are You Ready to Be Coached?
Leaders Need Professional Coaching Now More Than Ever
5 Ways Organizations Can Get The Most Out Of An Executive Coach