I thought it might be useful to go back to the very beginning and have a look at what coaching is and them place it in the context of Coaching Culture Clubs. The term coaching, according to Wikipedia, was first coined at Oxford University around 1830 and was slang for a tutor who “carried” a student through an exam. This origin of the word implies that the coach knows more about the subject than the student. The coach is a tutor. Wikipedia also tells us that the use of the word coach in relation to sport was first used in 1861.
Today the word coaching is used in relation to many different area of life: business and executive, career, financial, life, health and wellness, homework, relationship, Christian, ADHD and co-coaching. With coaching embracing so many spheres of life the definition of coaching can become vague. The area of vagueness in particular is where coaching overlaps (or not) with teaching, counselling and mentoring.
It may therefore be useful to look at the definition of teaching, counselling and mentoring first. Teaching is imparting information by someone who knows more on a given subject to someone who knows less. Counselling is defined as giving advice, opinion or instruction by a professional trained in a specific discipline. Mentoring is relationship between a more experienced person and a less experienced person to guide the less experienced person to understand how things are done.
A coach is not to be confused with a counsellor, a mentor or a teacher, even though a coach may sometimes employ these tools.
By deduction we must conclude then that a coach is not a tutor as defined in the 1830’s at Oxford, i.e. a subject expert, does not offer advice, opinion or instruction, nor is the coach more knowledgeable in the area where the person being coached want to develop.
When we look at professional sport the role of the coach is quite clear: the coaches job is to bring out the best performance from his/her players. The players come with skills and the coach helps the players refine or develop skills they already have. At school level, however, the sports teacher is teaching the skills of the sport to his/her students and may coach them to perform at their best in preparation for matches, but it would probably be correct to refer to this person as a teacher.
The role of the coach is to facilitate the use of the skills the client already has to enhance performance.
I looked at the top ranking Google sites to find ten definitions of coaching (see the side bar). Some of the definitions refer to “teaching skills”, but the greater consensus is that the coachee (person being coached) has the skills and the role of the coach is to facilitate (sometimes referred to as enabling) the use of these skills to enhance performance. That is what coaching is! People seek coaching because they want to improve their performance in what they are already doing, often because they have hit an obstacle or hindrance. However, most people want to improve their performance even though there is nothing hindering or obstructing them. Yet, in the latter situation people seldom seek coaching. Only in professional sport will a sports-person say: “I’m doing well, I need a coach because I want to do better.” It is this shift in culture that Coaching Culture Clubs wants to facilitate. Ordinary people who say: “I’m doing well, I’d like to do better” at life, career, relationships – intimate and inter-personal, etc. should think of coaching. In order to overcome the hurdle in people’s mind: “I don’t have an issue, so where do I start?”, Coaching Culture Clubs offers structured programmes or Journals to enhance the coachee’s (called the member) performance in their chosen area.
Take the leap.
- Coaching is a useful way of developing people's skills and abilities, and of boosting performance. It can also help deal with issues and challenges before they become major problems. A coaching session will typically take place as a conversation between the coach and the coachee (person being coached), and it focuses on helping the coachee discover answers for themselves.
- Put simply, coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and focuses on the ‘here and now’ rather than on the distant past or future. While there are many different models of coaching, here we are not considering the ‘coach as expert’ but, instead, the coach as a facilitator of learning. There is a huge difference between teaching someone and helping them to learn. In coaching, fundamentally, the coach is helping the individual to improve their own performance: in other words, helping them to learn.
- Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training, advice and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring in focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to general goals or overall development.
- "A method of directing, instructing and training a person or group of people, with the aim to achieve some goal or develop specific skills.
“A process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be a successful a Coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place”
- Coaching is a professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations, helping them to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. Coaches honour the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.
- “Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”.
- “A professional, collaborative and outcomes-driven method of learning that seeks to develop an individual and raise self-awareness so that he or she might achieve specific goals and perform at a more effective level”.
- The term coaching typically refers to methods of helping others to improve, develop, learn new skills, find personal success, achieve aims and to manage life change and personal challenges. Coaching commonly addresses attitudes, behaviours, and knowledge, as well as skills, and can also focus on physical and spiritual development too.
- Coaching is a skilful methodology for developing self and others so that the leader is more effective and fulfilled. It involves the development of increasing competence in the person being coached. One of the key ways in which this is done is through enabling a coachee to notice how their ‘way of being’ enhances or hinders what they want to accomplish.