What is and what is not coaching?

12 de October, 2021

Women coaching leadership

One of the most important things you can do to grow in your career and develop your leadership is work with a coach. And perhaps you have noticed that in recent years there has been an increase in the number of coaches. Evidently, there is a market of people who seek support to achieve personal and professional development and based on this, a spectacular boom has been seen in this realm.

A growing trend

According to a report by the John Maxwell Team, the coaching industry raised more than 15 billion dollars in 2019 in the United States and Market Data LLC indicates that in the same year there were already 100,000 coaches worldwide. Coaching as we know it emerged in the 80’s as personal support for executives with the purpose of making them much more productive and efficient in their work.

This sort of support has grown in popularity in recent years as people seek to grow in different areas of their lives, since individuals face constant changes whether they appear on their own or they are self-generated. This is an important reason why being accompanied is always a good option.

Coaching has become even more relevant during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current health crisis (without expiration date) has generated from the beginning of lockdown many challenges that transcend people’s physical health. Due to the high levels of concern, anxiety, and stress in addition to the problems of unemployment, economic crisis, family, confinement or simply the need to change our habits from one day to the next has impacted people in different ways. All this has influenced our personal state of mind and impacted either our jobs, families or has made us fight battles against ourselves. The National Association of Pharmacies of Mexico indicates that since the pandemic, cases of anxiety in people rose from 7 to 14%, double the cases than in 2019.

There are many types of coaching for personal development, but the most popular are executive coaching and life coaching. The aim is to provide the “client” with the necessary competencies to help them solve their challenges and situations on their own, therefore it is an aid to self-help.

However, in the coaching market today you will find non-scientific, dogmatic, empirical approaches without rigorous studies and with promises of “salvation”. Although a coach is not necessarily a psychologist, it is important that they be 100% professional on the subject. Recently you may have noticed that people have emerged who, after having studied (or not) other professions, take a few months of courses and begin to market themselves as a “coach.” And this has resulted in the distortion of a serious and important job.

To avoid falling victim to a fake coach, it’s important to understand what is coaching and what is not, so you can make an informed decision on what sort of support you are seeking. 

Coaching is:

  • A learning process that is actionable and applicable to one’s situation. It is based on the continued professional relationship with the coach, which will help you obtain results in your life, profession or business. Through this process, you will be able to deepen your own knowledge, increase performance and improve your quality of life.
  • A dynamic growth process that addresses technical and psychological issues. Some of the areas to work on through coaching include time management, conflict management, beliefs and habits, stress management and emotions. Its objective is that you progress quickly and efficiently and achieve autonomy (hence, a coach’s goal is not to create dependence) in solving important and everyday problems.
  • The goal of coaching is to support you through a creative and stimulating process that inspires you to maximize your personal and professional potential. The role of the coach is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources and creativity that you already possess.

What is not coaching:

  • It is not therapy, it is necessary to analyze the potential client’s situation, and if there is a deeper problem that can be considered pathological (such as depression or trauma), that person needs therapy and requires support from a psychologist or psychiatrist. A coach does not have enough knowledge and tools to help a patient overcome a pathology and should not enter that terrain because it can be harmful. If you are a person with any pathology, the appropriate resource is therapy and you may consider coaching at a later point.
  • It is not training, where the content and agenda are the property of the facilitator and it assumes that the knowledge will pass from the trainer to the learner. Coaching is based on a process of co-creation with the guidance of the coach, but the coach does not “impose” their agenda and in the strict sense, should not give orders or prescribe what the client should do.
  • It is not mentoring, do not be misled by a “coach” who acts like a mentor or claims to be more knowledgeable than you because they have more experience. Mentoring is based on a trusting and ongoing relationship, in such a way that the mentor guides the steps of the mentee because they themselves have already lived through similar situations, and therefore have the knowledge and experience to know what is the most appropriate in each case. Mentoring is a worthwhile relationship and should also be sought for career and personal growth, yet it is more directive and is different from coaching, where the coach seeks to help you find your own answers so you can take ownership of your path forward.

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