Coaching is a partnership
But first, let’s understand what leadership coaching is NOT:
– It isn’t technical guidance although it’s true to say that some coaches have a strong technical background.
– It isn’t career counselling although many coaches certainly assist in helping leaders find the right fit and match for their talents and strengths.
– It isn’t consulting (although the boundaries between coaching and consulting can often be blurred) where the consultant is really seen as the expert who comes in to solve a problem and give advice. Coaches on the other hand, prefer to ask questions and assist the leader to find their own solution.
– It isn’t mentoring who is someone who has trod the journey before. In this way, mentors are often informal supports either within or outside the organisation, but they have done the journey and typically have the wisdom of experience on their side. However, they can often be compromised with the company on the one hand and the needs of the ‘mentee’ on the other. Further, mentees are somewhat loath to bring up issues with them that might be considered ‘career limiting.’ Coaches instead, are generally hired from outside the team or organisation, have a broad range of experience and are skilled at managing discussions that might be deemed sensitive or ‘off limits.’
– It isn’t training. Training usually doesn’t involve reflection and introspection, it’s usually not tailored to the individual and trainers are often not aware of the intricacies of human nature that undermine or sabotage behaviour (including success) or that bring about an individual’s downfall.