Coaching: what is it?
Coaching is at the moment an intellectual profession which in Italy is among those not organized and not regulated, defined by Law 14.01.2013 n. 4. Consequently, it lacks a specific professional order of reference.
The Italia Coaching Association defines Coaching as a methodology based on an equal partnership relationship (between Coach and Client) which, through a commercial (contractual) relationship, aims to recognise, develop and exploit the strategies, the procedures and the actions useful to reach the objectives.
The Coaching relationship is enabled through a support and mentoring activity, not psychological or therapeutic and without treating problems that may affect the health of the person. Coaching is a method based on active learning, without a psychodiagnostic and/or interpretative approach, and does not make a diagnosis of personality, or assessments of the single person. Applying Coaching implies offering contents that aim at developing the design and implementation autonomy of the Client by offering concrete methods, techniques and tools.
Coaching is born in the United States as a training method, in the sports field at the end of the 1980s. It has then gradually developed into a profession that today finds application in various sectors of social and human life. It is a useful, profitable and expanding profession, but still in the pioneering phase, especially in Italy. Because of its flexibility and since it is an intervention method aimed at development and change, coaching can be applied in companies, sports centers, school performance, as well as in relations. The potential users target is virtually huge.
The coach is not a psychologist, he is not a psychotherapist, and he is not a consultant. The coach is an individual (or group) coach of “healthy” people. It is a professional figure that helps people to realistically assess their resources, so that they can set achievable goals. As an ally, he stimulates the client to create the right conditions to get the most out of his potential, getting rid of obstacles and external and internal limitations. He does not get into psychic distress, he does not provide advices relating to the client’s activity, he does not find solutions and it does not even propose methods. Unless it is a professional, member of the Order of Psychologists, the activity of the coach is not that of a psychologist. The coach is the trainer who supports the individual to find, realize and develop his full potential and get clarity on the objectives. The coach is the figure that enables the self-awareness growth, so that the client can study an action plan to achieve the desired results. Once the planning is done, the coach supports, motivates and empowers the individual, to move from the idea to action, so that he does not lose focus on the goal.
Reception and active listening are key coach’s tools to establish a relationship of respect and trust, in which the client perceives him as an ally and as a non-judgmental resource. This is a fundamental requirement for the individual to feel free to focus on the areas of his personal or professional life that he aims to improve.
Another key point is to know how to ask clear and effective questions, in order to help the client to achieve clarity through his own answers.
Those who want to become a professional coach, should know how to listen in a deep and empathic way, being able to grasp the meaning of gestures and silence, in addition to that of words.
Theoretical assumptions of coaching:
- Each individual is unique
- A coaching relationship is useful only if it is based on client satisfaction
- The client chooses the direction and the goal, the coach supports him from the outside
- The relationship between coach and client is contractual and clarifies the type of intervention and the actions needed to obtain the result set by the client
- The client already owns all the answers and all the resources: the first task of the coach is to stimulate them to come to surface by asking the right questions;
- The coaching relationship starts from a direct, specific question from the client
Life coaching deals with the different areas of people life. It is for people who want to develop themselves, define and achieve improvement goals in the areas related to life. It is suitable to overcome challenging moments, where maximum performance, resources and potential optimization can be decisive.
Life coaching can be applied in every area of life and interpersonal relationships, especially, but not exclusively, in family and emotional relationships, where it is particularly effective in managing and resolving conflicts.
The person remains the protagonist because he completely owns himself, health, quality of life and well-being. The coaching relationship is founded on an exploratory, creative and generative basis, characterized by a design and operational alliance. The Client does not seek emotional recovery or pain or psychological relief.
It is possible to achieve objectives, improve performances, design, organizational and executive processes. The Coach supports the Client in the action plan and the relationship become a “common path” in which the decisional and organizational elements are shared and never decided by the Coach. The latter provides the Client with personal knowledge, techniques, experiences, tools, relational and motivational stimuli, useful to overcome moments of operational, implementation and decision-making difficulties.
The Coaching relationship is linked to aspects aimed at facing organizational changes, identifying, developing and making the most out of personal and contextual knowledge. The Coaching activity is always focused on the future desired by the Client, who remains the only protagonist of the Coaching process.
Life coaching aims at:
- clarify, identify and pursue personal and / or professional goals
- develop concrete action plans to achieve them;
- develop decision-making skills within the context;
- improve communication (at work, within the family, as a couple, with friends);
- have an effective method in study and / or at work;
- improve financial position;
- find the right organizational balance between professional and private life;
- improve relationships (sentimental, friendship, parental, professional, etc.).
In the event of issues or psychological distress, the client is promptly directed to the relevant professional categories.
Studying is not enough
In order to become a coach, there are three phases: learn what to do, know how to do it and finally be a coach. Studying is not enough. Training is of pivotal importance but not sufficient for those who wish to enter the world of coaching, making it a profession.
There is another element that cannot be missed, to attract clients and inspire trust: it is credibility. Those who turn to a coach, must perceive him as authentic, as the concrete proof that what he says, actually works. For example, if you want to focus on corporate coaching, you will be extremely more authentic and credible if you have achieved a good personal professional success, in any sector. In our leading sector, which is the care of relational wellbeing, one of our exclusive features is the “Active integrative method” ®. A method of undoubted effectiveness and innovation, which combines a self-awareness path with personal growth tools, such as mindfullness. Being in a relationship in personal life, as well as in professional life, we represent a very concrete and visible example of the truthfulness, concreteness and effectiveness of what we explain to the people who come to us.
Our authenticity, the overlap between teaching and real life, puts our clients at ease, knowing that this is a “tested” and effective path that we are following.
This perception immediately creates a sense of trust. As well known, for the coaching relationship effectiveness and for the success of the external facilitating intervention, trust between the coach and the coachee is of primary importance.
The more easily and effectively this perception of “alliance” is established, the quicker the positive dynamics that are key to achieve the desired results, are activated. All this, in short time and more incisiveness.
Our clients spontaneously claim that our characteristic of authentic people and consequently of authentic couple puts them immediately at ease, facilitating the trust in the effectiveness of our coaching. They do not perceive that insidious “ambiguity”, that discrepancy between “saying” and “doing”, which represent a weak point of the entire path, able to activate those mechanisms of defense and closure that are the basis of the blurring of subjective potential.
Authenticity and the living example represent our peculiarity that leads us to the deep and “true” essence of our way to mean coaching.