It bothers me when people call themselves ‘coaches’ and they don’t really coach.
Executive coaching is a skill that all leaders and managers of people should have. Coaching is to get inside the person and look out from where they are. To be a new pair of eyes with which to see the world around them, its problems and opportunities. This is inspirational work. That is to say coaching is a mechanism for inspiration, to encourage, motivate and instill belief into those who either may have lost it or who need more of it to do their job and make the decisions they need to make. This is not done by either shouting and instilling fear (although there is a role for fear and I will say more about this another time) but through skilled questioning and strong (but subtle) encouragement.
This is a skill – the questioning particularly. I learned it from a coach I used to have. He was amazing! Whatever answer I gave to a question he would ask another until we both got the answers that we needed to move ahead. It took me a while to ‘get it’ but when I did – and applied it to others – WOW! The impact was immediate and long-lasting. The interesting thing is that anyone can apply this technique.
Anyone can use coaching skills in this way. Just because a person doesn’t give themselves the title ‘coach’ doesn’t mean they can’t use the skills. In fact I have seen plenty people ordinary managers, parents, and even kids with this skill. In fact, being a coach then isn’t just about calling yourself a coach its about doing what coaching does – questioning always. There is a big difference!