• Jonathan Gibbon

The Benefits of Coaching

Many training programmes deliver great information but much of it is lost in the following hours, days and weeks, as the lack of supported, practical application fails to embed the new learning. Here, we will look at the benefits coaching can deliver and why we use this approach in our programmes.

Personal Leadership is designed to be used in practice in real-life situations – specifically, in your real-life situations. However, even with the practice frameworks built into the programme, our work in piloting Personal Leadership showed us the significant shift in impact created by coaching when compared with a self-managed online version of the course.

Although the self-managed course resulted in a very positive impact for learners, those who then took the coached programme said it had a more profound impact on their development. It has influenced and effected deeper behaviour change and created greater insights. Coachees have commented that the addition of coaching has helped them to remove deep-seated limitations in their perceptions and thinking, enabling them to achieve things they were simply unable to do by themselves. They have reported much greater confidence and now feel far more in control of themselves, their plans and their actions.

So what exactly is coaching?

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Coaching is probably most associated with sport, in both a team sense and in the coaching of an individual. Of course, the scope of coaching has widened significantly over the years and there are now coaches to support us in many aspects of our business and personal lives; for example, executive, accountability, performance, life and career coaching.

The International Coaching Community states that the essence of coaching is:

  • To help a person change in the way they wish and helping them go in the direction they want to go

  • Supporting a person at every level in becoming who they want to be

  • Building awareness, empowering choice and leading to change.

It asserts that coaching ‘unlocks a person’s potential to maximise their performance’. Coaching helps people to achieve transformational learning for and within themselves.

Coaching, Teaching & Mentoring

The distinction between coaching and teaching/training is also necessary to consider. Training is the gaining of knowledge and/or skills by study, experience or teaching. It is intended to make an immediate impact on the skills of the trainee and their confidence in applying those skills. In essence, training involves an expert teaching the student something they do not already know, or know at a low level of competence. In this case, the teacher/trainer holds the knowledge and is required to pass it on to the trainee.

However, in coaching, the client is the expert in their specific area, with the coach drawing on their coaching expertise to help the client gain clarity and often plan a way to achieve their goal. This can be achieved by helping the coachee draw out the most relevant elements of the coachee’s expertise, and in helping them determine how they can remove barriers that get in their way.

Coaching usually has longer-term goals than training and is a more transformational process than the transactional nature of training. Whereas the ownership in imparting their skills is with the teacher in training, the ownership in coaching is more on a joint discovery between coach and coachee, with the coachee committing to putting their learning into action in order for the coach to continue to support them.

An alternative method of self-improvement is mentoring. This is done through the creation of a ‘partnership’ with someone more experienced in the area you wish to focus on. The mentor will use their experience and discussions with the less experienced mentee to guide the mentee in their journey. It is important to note that age is not the determining factor in who a mentor would be; it is the experience in the relevant area that determines this. The mentee would lead the application of the plan that is created in their discussions with their mentor.

All three strands are designed to develop confidence and advance the learner, but each come with a different emphasis and focus on the process of learning. In all three strands, the greatest education occurs in the ongoing, practical application of the learning, and coaching and mentoring support this element of the learning journey in a way that the vast majority of training doesn’t.

How could engaging in a coached programme help you achieve your goals?

All personal and collective growth is an outcome of some change supported by one form of learning or another. Therefore, learning lies at the very heart of progress. However, how we learn and what we learn is influenced by our experiences and how our brains work.

When we process or explore information by ourselves, our internal conversation is often masked by many factors that limit our ability to make the most of what might be truly possible. To cope with the billions of data we are bombarded with on a daily basis, our brains develop filters which block out the vast majority of what is going on. This enables the brain to work more effectively without crashing. As we move through life, our brain creates memories of key experiences and often develops shortcuts and reactions which, when triggered, effectively fire a habitual response that also reduces the data we take on board. Hence, in many ways our brains often distort, re-imagine or even block things out. In this way they can limit who we are and what we can become.

On the flip side, our brains can also be guided to ‘experience’ events that have not yet occurred in reality. In this way, they can be awoken to look out for all the data that will help this imagined reality become more real. Our imagination can indeed help advance our progress.

Coaching provides us with a capable ‘exploration partner’ to help us catch, recognise and better manage our filters and reactions, as well as imagining what bigger, better, more attractive outcomes might be for us. In this process, the coach enables us to access more data, make more connections, consider more possibilities and determine far more powerful solutions than we could achieve by ourselves.

So, whether it is freeing yourself from experiential limits, seeing new possibilities or broadening and deepening your learning experiences, coaching acts as both a catalyst and an accelerator to help you advance your insights, thoughts and actions more powerfully.

In the full Personal Leadership programme, you will have 10 personalised coaching sessions to help you explore each module in greater detail, deepen your learning and unlock your brilliance. Sign up here.