WHY COACHING? Because it works!
There has been a lot of research and the numbers add up. People and organizations who use coaches and function with a coaching culture have greater success in generating their desired outcomes than those who don't. It's rarely easy and it doesn't protect them from all kinds of bad surprises, challenges, and bad luck. But it builds thinking systems designed to navigate the unknown and flow with it rather than desperately pushing against what isn't working.
Some quick statistics:
70% of companies who use coaches report increased performance.
80% of coaching clients report increased self-confidence.
73% report improved relationships
72% report improved communication skills
86% of companies report a positive return on investment in coaching.
Companies with a strong coaching culture reported 69% employee engagement compared to 39% for companies that do not.
54% of top talent retained in companies that coach compared to 32% for those that don't.
Statistics come from the ICF 2020 Global Coaching Study carried out by PWC
... because each individual has a unique set of stakes, vision of the world, and needs. Each of us also has a pool of resources that we can harness and tailor to meet these needs.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) has been gathering data for over a decade from coaches, individuals, and companies that use coaching, and also from individuals and companies that don’t.
The statistics are powerful. The measurable indicators of companies that use coaches and apply coaching values are noticeably higher than for companies that don’t. These run from increased employee satisfaction to reduced absenteeism, and lower attrition, to performance indicators such as increased profits and quality.
The areas in which participants claim to have gained the most benefit through working with a coach are: improved communication skills, increased self-esteem, and confidence, increased productivity, improved work/life balance, increased well-being, optimized individual/team performance, improved management strategies, expanding career opportunities, accelerated integration into a new professional role.
There are some amazing coaches out there and I know many, and I give great thanks to give to the few I have worked with. I cannot compare myself in experience or skill to the best but I combine some non-negotiable necessities for a coach to have with some less-common competencies, experience, and style and they add up to make me a less-common coach who has accompanied people the world over to building life-transforming changes and never have I received so much positive recognition, thanks and feedback for my work as that from my coaching clients.
I have trained as a coach (with Erickson International and from whom I have the Erickson Professional Coach Certificate), I also studied team coaching with Erickson.
I am a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and was accredited by them in 2019. I adhere to the ICF code of conduct and base my coaching practice on the ICF core competencies.
I am experienced: I started out coaching friends for free and anybody I could persuade to work with me but quickly gained paying clients. I sought out people facing difficult situations, people with high stakes and sometimes strong personalities, I was warned that some of these people would not be coachable – they were.
I worked hard and quickly to get the coaching hours I needed to get accredited, but hungry to grow in skill and credibility I trained in other areas of HR services to become a leadership assessor and to debrief 360 feedback questionnaires. I am qualified to analyse and debrief the SOSIE personality test and also the FICS cognitive process test and have studied the Hofstede Intercultural Dimensions.
I have also worked for many years as an adult trainer in companies. Most recently creating programs for management interpersonal skills, gaining added value from emotions, and creating development assessments for young managers as well as for mid-career directors and leaders.
Schools of thought that inform my coaching:
As well as the ICF and Erickson International coaching school and their values that have greatly influenced me, I have drawn great value from training I followed in Non-Violent Communication, and from the work on Richard Schwartz who developed a psychological model known as Internal Family Systems (IFS) that inform a lot of my coaching work to overcome internal obstacles. Ideas put forward in Danial Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence lie at the heart of my coaching practice.
I believe in the intelligence of people, I believe in the equal value of people (race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, schooling…) I like people (even though they are annoying sometimes!), I believe that coaching skills are powerful, but not magic: that they can be learned and applied by anybody that would like access to them.
My added value:
I find it quite easy to think outside the box. For a lot of my life, I have been looking at the wrong things and in the wrong direction, as a coach, I started to realise that this was, in fact, a type of skill that helps clients find different ways of framing ideas and problems.
As an experienced coach and trainer in interpersonal skills for business, I can change roles quickly and with agility. If during a coaching accompaniment, a person asks for understanding that they don’t have and of which I have knowledge I can change roles (stating and underlining the temporary change of roles) and switch back to coaching again. As a trainer, my style relies heavily on coaching and getting people to try out, evaluate, and find solutions that fit their own needs and when people bring individual challenges (which is always the case) I can move into listening, support, and accompaniment mode with ease and confidence.
I bring a certain amount of personal energy to both training and coaching and I use this to build connections of trust with people modeling behaviours and openness that are useful for the participants to allow themselves during coaching work. I come to neither coaching nor training in a position of superiority or inferiority but as an equal. Working with me, however, is not a flat experience where I am simply listening or supporting. I use observation to lead people to notice their ideas that appear incoherent or incompatible with the outcomes they desire. I am audacious and frequently ask permission from my participants to challenge them and their ideas. And I like laughter. Jokes and playing are part of my everyday work style. They are always done with respect for equality and never come before the values of listening and keeping a safe space for the client.
Ultimately, my personality is what makes me different from other coaches (and all coaches are different from each other). I do not suppress it and I believe it has an added value to be present as an equal with the people I coach or train. I speak with confidence and care. I will talk about my own emotions, and use anecdotes or illustrations from my own life where they are suitable or can be used as models for somebody creating their own strategies or action plans - I also take care not to take up too much space. My philosophy is that I bring who I am into the room with me in the service of the people I work with to create ease, trust, and a sense that both coaching and training can be a nice way to spend time productively.
I am both a coach and a creator of specific training programs and I see the value in both, but not at the same time or for the same things.
When coaching is the best thing:
finding solutions to specific challenges with specific objectives for the outcomes. For example, “finding how to motivate my team without enforcing the power of my position”. That might be closely related to: “How I can get just as much done but lighten my workload so I don’t burn out.”
When training is the best thing:
fulfilling a need to get the same specific skill set or group of ideas to a number of people. Training is great when people don’t have the tools or knowledge necessary to learn new skills without external input. It is also great even when people do have skills but can benefit by exploring them deeper and testing them with others and challenging their preconceived ideas about how those skills work.
When coaching doesn’t work so well:
When the person or group of people intended to receive the coaching are not willing to be coached or do not see the need. It is not impossible to coach these people but the job of building rapport gaining trust and helping people to identify what they can take from coaching is a massive barrier to getting started.
When people simply do not understand what skill is lacking or have access to the information necessary to learn that skill. The nature of coaching is that it is not about giving advice or teaching skills
When Training doesn’t work so well:
the nature of training is that it is prepared in advance with a specific set of skills and knowledge to be transmitted. This can get in the way of people finding their own solutions and it can make it very difficult for a trainer to respond to the specific needs of a participant. Training also by its very nature is low on listening to the stakes and needs of the participant. I have worked hard in my training techniques to counter these problems by bringing listening and coaching, particularly when working one on one or in small groups, but when people already have prior knowledge of a subject, difficulty in getting motivated to do what they know would work, or difficult stakes and circumstances, coaching may well be better adapted to their needs.
Group Coaching vs Individual Coaching
Group coaching and individual coaching both have advantages. They also have different prices. Group coaching tends to be more expensive, but cheaper per participant.
I have listed below some of the advantages of the both, but working with both teams and individuals I am a fan of both. Ultimately, if I can set up some sessions with a whole team and individual sessions in parallel this seems like the way of getting the best outcomes for all participants.
Advantages of individual coaching over group coaching:
Individual coaching is much better for building a safe space where the participant can really let go without fear of judgement.
Individual coaching allows the sessions to be entirely oriented to the need of one person and so can go much deeper much quicker.
Individual coaching allows the participant to decide on strategies and action plans alone without being diluted by the needs of others. This means that the action plans are going to be ultimately suited to the needs of the participant.
Individual coaching allows the participant to really focus on deeply personal subjects without having to consider the needs or regard of others.
Advantages of group coaching:
Group coaching has great team building qualities, if for no other reason than a collective experience, but especially the fact of hearing other people’s stakes can make a real difference to how people humanize other people.
Group coaching harnesses the resources of multiple people effectively allowing each member of a team to bring their strengths and raising the possible positive outcomes.
Group coaching provides broader critical regard to call out hair-brained ideas and action plans (we all have them sometimes).
Group coaching can keep individuals on track and check in with the ecosystem of any lines of exploration and
Group coaching allows for solutions, strategies, and action plans that everybody has participated in so making them highly effective in terms of getting everybody invested in them.
Group coaching gives each individual a sense of responsibility to the other members of the team and this increases the likelihood of people doing what they commit to.