The practice of coaching has exploded recently as more and more leaders are looking to increase their overall effectiveness. However, the impact of coaching can be seen not just in the formal coach/client relationship, but also the supervisor/employee relationship as well.
Coaching can sometimes get lumped in with other terms like counseling or therapy, but the practice is actually quite different. Coaching is about helping others to grow through genuine curiosity and strategic partnering. Clients are not simply given answers or direction. Rather, they work with a coach to arrive at said answers and to determine their own path going forward.
Coaches work with clients to increase perspective, make better decisions, and become better problem solvers. The practice can be extremely effective as it incorporates focus and motivation. When clients share their goals and ideas, the coach works to hold them accountable to ensure their goals are reached and challenges are overcome.
Research shows that coaching can have a greater return on investment compared with training. Training tends to be impersonal and/or one dimensional. Coaching, however, can impact the client as a whole; personally, and professionally.
Debate centers around the notion that clients can ultimately become dependent on their coaches or that coaches allow the relationship to go on longer than necessary purely for financial benefit. With that in mind, clients should continually assess things like rapport, curiosity, and value. Not all coaching relationships are perfect matches.
Furthermore, each coach brings certain experience and expertise to the relationship. Make a point to screen your coach before entering into an agreement. Thereafter, periodically assess the relationship to ensure it continues to provide value.