Here is a passage from the website of the International Coach Federation that answers the question, “What is Coaching?”
Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives.
Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives. Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful.
The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.
As a Certified Coach Training Program graduate of CoachU, the oldest and largest coach-training institution, I have completed over 250 classroom hours of training and development. I have also logged thousands of paid coaching hours, completed six months of mentor coaching by a Master Certified Coach to improve my coaching skills, and had my coaching technique assessed to assure that I abide by the industry’s best practices.
Here are some tips on hiring a coach, provided by the International Coach Federation:
You want to hire a coach. You have narrowed your initial list down to three potential coaches. But how do you determine which is right for you? Let the ICF help by giving you the top questions to ask each—through the five C’s of hiring a coach: code of ethics, coach-specific training, credential, context and chemistry.
“Choosing a coach can be a daunting task,” said ICF President Diane Brennan, MBA, MCC1. “There are thousands of people out there who call themselves a coach—how can you determine which is right for you (and is truly a coach)? The ICF is here to stop the confusion and make this process easier for those who want to benefit from a coaching relationship.”
The ICF recommends that clients ask coaches questions based on the five C’s:
1. Code of Ethics. Is the coach a member of the ICF? All ICF members pledge to uphold a set of ethical standards and are accountable to the ethics and standards set forth by the ICF. If the coach is not an ICF member, what ethical standards do they follow? Are they accountable to any standards?
2. Coach-specific training. Has the coach had coach-specific training – training in coaching skills? Or is the said coach marketing him or herself as a coach based on other education/degrees? As coaching is not a regulated profession, many who call themselves coaches have not been formally trained in specific coaching skills and instead are transferring skill sets from other professions into their coaching. This method often results in inadequate and ineffective coaching experience for clients. There are currently 90 ICF-approved coach training programs.
3. Credential. Is the coach ICF Credentialed? Or is he/she in the process of acquiring an ICF Credential? When hiring a coach, the ICF strongly recommends finding someone who holds an ICF Credential. The credential signifies: a coach’s commitment to integrity and credibility; an understanding of coaching skills; a coach’s dependability to consumers; a strong code of ethics; superior knowledge and skills; and a coach’s serious stance for ongoing professional development.
4. Context. What other specialized skills does the coach have? How important is experience in specific/relevant areas to you in a coach? Think about the kinds of goals you want to create for your life. Is this coach able to address them effectively?
5. Chemistry. Do you feel a connection with the coach? The coach-client relationship is very important; a connection between you and the coach is vital. If it does not “feel” right to you, heavily consider choosing another coach to whom you feel more connected and trust.
The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.
The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with 13,000 members in over 80 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. The ICF is the only organization that awards a global credential which is currently held by over 3,900 coaches worldwide. For more information on how to become or find an ICF Credentialed coach, please visit www.coachfederation.org.