What is coaching and why do we need it


Do you know how it feels when you make an action plan that you never follow? Do you tend to supervise people that are specialists in an area you know little about? Are you trying to delegate more tasks to your team, but struggle to encourage ownership in people? Or are you at a point where you have good technical skills, but you feel that you can be a better version of yourself?

Coaching can help you to advance in these areas, and you can help your team, clients or partners grow when you coach them.

Coaching is one tool we have as leaders in organizations and in society. Beyond managing and interventions, we need this technique in our toolbox because it inspires ownership and unleashes the best in everyone, leading to individual and societal transformation. People see coaches mostly when they feel like they are stuck in a rut, and getting yourself out of the rut leads to transformation.

Imagine the outcome

Imagine … you as a person are respected by others and by yourself for your clear vision of the future and your role in it, for your ability to listen and understand other people well, for your flexibility to integrate changing facts and situations into something that is inclusive, powerful and connected to people and reality.

Imagine … how it will be to truly know yourself, to know why you get angry or happy and when you are patient or upset, courageous or timid.

Imagine … you would be able to listen to your thoughts, feelings and to your body and know what you need right now, in order to be effective and efficient in what you want to do, and to be caring and trusting towards yourself and the people around you.

Imagine … how all this will result in improved relationships, more self-confidence, improved work performance and a better work-life balance.

How coaching works

Coaching is a creative process involving a coach that leads to coachees maximizing their professional and personal potential.

The largest capital in coaching is the trust between coach and coachee, an unconditional positive belief in the wholeness and ability of the coachee, and the coach’s empathy towards the coachee. If the process goes well, the coachee feels comfortable when talking about sensitive topics.

Here are some important does and don’ts:

What are the important tools?

A coach needs effective communication techniques like active listening and a deep understanding of feelings and needs.

  • The coach balances between caring for a coachee and challenging them to do more and better. This motivates the coachee to move into a stretch-zone that results in growth and overcoming limiting beliefs through creating evidence and success.

  • The main tools are powerful and empowering questions. The coach speaks no more than 20% of the time, and leads the conversation through questions, augmented only by short and precise observations without judgments.

  • Coachees .need to be championed. The role of the coach here is to point out the evidence you see as to why your coachee will be able to complete a task, This works better because you bring in an outsider's perspective.

  • A mix of interjecting when the story is entangled, naming the communication patterns you see, pointing out discrepancies between what people say, do, and what their body language shows.

Awareness, alignment, action

The coachee increases awareness about his or her doing and being through these conversational techniques, combined with true empathy and acceptance on an emotional level. This is how the coach facilitates learning and inner alignment.

We are in alignment when we have clarity in thinking and feeling. As a coachee, you are looking for alignment of the coaching goals, and the actions you take to get there with your values and emotions. A plan needs to make sense as well as make the person feel good about it. Through this alignment, you will get the confidence to become a better version of yourself.

As a coachee you walk in with an agenda, goals you want to achieve, realities you want to change and things you feel stuck with. This is like a seed on the surface, and the coachee gets to choose what to grow.

It helps the coach to define a time limit for a session because it means you as a coach have to hold back your own agenda completely for this duration. This time is meant for the coachee, it is not about the coach. As a coachee, you want to coach, not consulting. You are looking for someone to be there for you on eye level, without giving advice. This is where the coachee leads, and the coach helps structuring.

During coaching, people arrive at deeper agendas that are more about who they are on a being-level, less on a doing-level. More ‘what kind of a person, a leader, a father I want to be’, less ‘first-this-happened-then-that-happened’. The coach leads by not focusing on the story, instead asking questions that aim at the level of values, feelings, and needs.

As a coachee, you expect to be heard completely without being overanalysed. You want to derive your own conclusions. This is where true empowerment happens, and where confidence grows, much like strong roots of a plant.

These self-owned, deeper insights will lead to transformational insights and beliefs, like a tiny seed growing into a lush green plant. This is where actions can be designed so that the coachee feels self-confident, motivated and empowered.

About the Author:

Stefan Bannach is a Bali based consultant, trainer, and coach with more than 15 years of experience working in Germany, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. He has extensive experience in moderating and facilitating multi-stakeholder processes in a participative way, as well as setting up training modules in the fields of communication, team development, conflict management, participatory planning, and moderation.

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