Can Anyone Be A Coach?
Coaching is an undermined service in Asia. According to the 2016 ICF (International Coach Federation) Global Coaching Study, Asia has only 7% of the global 53,300 coaches. More often than not, coaching is often assumed to be associated with sports coaches or trainers. Many are unaware of the distinctions between therapy, counselling, mentoring and coaching. Unlike the formals which are inclined towards instructive and supervisory, coaching focused on provoking the thoughts to uncover the hidden, blind-spot and the unknown issues interrelated to one’s desired goal. The uniqueness of the professional coaching approach is that it leverages on the resources of the client to drive performance on a personal and professional basis. Furthermore, the client is accountable for the actions and outcome of the self-determined goal(s).
The “rules” of engagement between the coach and the client is there should not be any guidance, hinting and/or suggestion from the coach nor should there be any leading question. Complying with these rules does not sound as easy as one may be perceived. There is a tendency for an inexperienced coach to be judgmental and more often than not, vocalised his/her inner voice and/or infused the session with personal opinion, experience, expertise, instruction and/or guidance. These “weaknesses” tends to set an ambiance for counselling.
The mastery of coaching skill runs in parallel with the effectiveness of engaged listening. Engage listening goes beyond all ears. The inner voice of the coach needs to be diminished and hence, giving absolute focus on what the client is saying, not saying, implying and the hidden agenda beyond the client conscious mind. In a nutshell, engage listening is about the awareness of the 4 voices namely, the coach’s inner and verbalised voices and likewise, the client's. In the absence of engaging listening, selective listening may be advocating and filtering what is being received and processed throughout the communication.
Engage listening is the gateway for a coach to enter the client's world. When that happens, the client would unknowingly feel the strong presence of the coach and unleashed total trust. There would be unconditional free-flow and sharing of intrinsic sentiments. This critical “moment” would be a point for the coach rendered his/her power questioning skill. Power questioning is not about posing powerful questions. Asking a simple question like “why is this important to you” at the right moment would lead to the deep stirring of the client's thoughts and unveil new perspective or insight. The manuever of the “moment” between the coach and client can be a metaphor as dancing with the client. When it is well tangoed, the hidden, blind spots and unknown would be unveiled and discovered respectively.
The ultimate objective(s) of coaching is to help the client to gain clarity and achieve internal alignment on the coached subject matter. In order for a coach to get the client to such a state, the coach himself/herself must have exemplary awareness to maintain engage listening and administer power questioning at the precise moment during the coaching session. Thus, the self-awareness and sensory of the client state of mind require a certain level of mastery.
The benefits of receiving effective coaching are intrinsically valuable as it puts the client on a journey of self-ascertained-goal(s) and self-accountability of achieving the outcome(s). The coach himself/herself has more to gain than the commercial yields. The self-fulfilment yearned from positively changing the lives of clients are indeed at the highest realm of the pyramid of needs. The barricade that limits a coach from getting to the realm is himself/herself. The mastery of coaching skills through polished universal sensory of self and environment would scale the wall of the barricade. Hence, can anyone has that poise to be a coach and in turn, be a great coach?
About the Author
Samuel Teh is a career and communications coach who has successfully groomed his peers in improving career performance through his transformational leadership and internal alignment skills.