One of my most frequently asked questions is “what is coaching and how does it work?”. This is my take on demystifying some of the initial uncertainties in taking the first step.
What is it?
What is coaching?
Coaching is a professional partnering that facilitates experiential learning to support achieving your desired change. In this role a coach is a trusted partner, role model, confidant and resource who supports and challenges you to reflect, learn and brainstorm on new ways of doing/being/feeling to achieve the change you want to achieve.
Simply put, coaching is like having a professional sounding board who is skilled in supporting and challenging you to achieve your goals.
What is different between coaching and therapy?
A very broad brushstroke on this is that coaching is future focused development where therapy is focused on healing, often based on reflecting on the past.
In coaching, the partnership is between peers on an equal psychological footing, where as a therapist is often required to hold an elevated psychological standing to support the therapy/treatment journey.
What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?
A mentor is a person who is skilled and experienced in an area of development and will impart technical knowledge through the mentoring process. Where as a coach will facilitate your own journey in developing the skills and insight you need to achieve your own flavour of success.
What does the JOURNEY look like?
How long does coaching take?
Everyone’s journey is different, and the number of sessions and time needed is based on personal preference and experience. The trend that I see is that 6 to 12 sessions are valuable in supporting transformational change. I usually encourage people to commit to 6 sessions up front and we update the agreement in light of how you experience the progress. One of the fundamentals to coaching is that there is always a clear agreement and ending that is flexible to be updated appropriately to suit your journey and style.
How long are the session and how frequent are they?
The session duration is also based on personal preference and most often they are one-hour sessions. The frequency often changes through the coaching journey, with sessions being more frequent in the beginning with 7 to 10 days gap and stretching out to 2 to 3 weeks in the middle and up to 4 to 5 weeks towards the end of the coaching journey.
The reason for this is in the beginning there is a lot happening, we start to get to know each other and your current context, you start to implement initial changes which usually need shorter time to action and then, as your journey deepens, longer time is needed between sessions to play with insights and decisions in your evolving context.