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Coaching 101 – What is coaching?

What is coaching? Coaching can mean many different things to different people.  The context for the term when used by Launch Pad Solutions is aligned with the definition and philosophies certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help one establish a better understanding of what coaching is and how it is provided by Launch Pad Solutions.

What is coaching?  Coaching is a professional service designed to help a client drive growth and improvement in their life, career, or business.  The process involves one-on-one coaching sessions that focus on helping the client identify where they are, where they want to go, and the best way to get there.  These sessions can recur at a desired frequency helping the client to stay on track through action planning and progress tracking.

What is a coaching session like?  The sessions will revolve around a conversation that the client chooses and will typically revolve around a topic, challenge, or question that is at the top of the client’s mind.  During the session, the coach listens and provides questions and observations.  This will help create clarity and move the client into action. These meetings can either take place over the phone, over the internet, or they can be face-to-face.  Typical length for a session will be between 30 to 60 minutes.

Why would someone be interested in coaching?  Someone would be interested in professional coaching if they are not satisfied with where they are and with their current pace of growth and improvement.

What will the client need in order to prepare for a coaching session?  The only preparation a client will need to do for a session is to bring something to discuss or to have an area to be coached on.  In the event that the client does not have an area to be coached on, the coach will bring questions and exercises to the process to help the client identify potential areas that they might be interested in discussing and working on.

Is this like to therapy?  It is easy to think that coaching is like therapy, and while they are similar in that they are both focused on improvement, there are some defined differences between the two.  The main difference between the two is that therapy focuses on improving a damaged area with the goal of getting back to a normal state.  With coaching, the assumption exists that the start point is a normal state with the goal of improvement driving toward more success and achievement.

An analogy that can help explain the difference is the comparison between a physical therapist and a personal trainer.  Both might have a person work with weights to strengthen a group of muscles, but a physical therapist is improving an area back to normal and a personal trainer is working an area that is relatively healthy and improving it to a better state.

Coaching is similar to the personal trainer in that designed for improving individuals that are in a fairly normal state.  If clients are looking for healing and improvement in damaged areas, some sort of mental therapy is likely a better fit.

How often does a coach meet with a client?  The frequency and duration of the coaching sessions are purely up to the client.  The sessions could be weekly, twice a month, monthly, or quarterly.

What areas is the coach an expert in?  The coach comes to the table first and foremost as an expert in the area of coaching.  This expertise enables the coach to guide and manage the coaching process, which is the way they provide the most value to the client. At a secondary level, the coach will typically have some depth of knowledge and expertise in a number of different areas through different experience and education.  These areas will vary from coach to coach.

How is working with a coach going to help a client?  Working with a coach will help a client to achieve more growth and success than they would if they were working independently.  The amount of time to achieve goals and rate of growth is typically expedited when working with a coach as well.

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This article was published on Tuesday 27 October, 2009.
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