According to a recent study by the International Coaching Foundation, there was a 33% growth in the number of coach practitioners between 2015 and 2019, and the number of managers and leaders within organizations that utilize coaching techniques has risen by almost one half, 46% over the same period.
In addition, a 2018 study by the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coaching Federation (ICF), “Building a Coaching Culture for Change Management” found that 83% of the organizations planned to expand the scope of managers and leaders using coaching techniques over the next five years.
Clearly, businesses now recognize the immense value of coaching training and development, as a leadership and management technique to integrate a coaching mindset into their organizational culture, and of internal and external coach practitioners as valuable resources for individual and team improvement.
However, what is coaching? How does it differ from leadership, management, mentoring, and training, and how are organizations using coaching to achieve growth? Let me answer these questions in turn!
What is coaching?
Coaching is a process that helps you identify and resolve problems you may have concerning your life. The coach acts as a “thought partner” to help you gain a better understanding of yourself as a person and in context with your environment. As a result, you become empowered to reach your full potential, personally and professionally. Your coach, as a partner to you, uses questions paired with reflective listening to help you “see” and interpret your thinking in a way that you’re not able to see on your own. You might compare it with using a mirror to see a reflection of yourself that helps you dress or shave better. One key concept of coaching is “sustainable change” – meaning that the client being coached learns from the process and the learning stays with them after the process is concluded.
Leadership and management training, facilitation and mentoring
While leadership, management, training and mentoring processes are all also extremely important, they differ from coaching in terms of the roles played by both the coach and the client. Coaching is, in the words of Myles Downey, “non-directive”: the client solves their own problems, identify their own course of action and way of working – according to their needs. The other styles of service are, to different degrees, “directive” and differ from coaching in that they focus more on:
· sharing information and ideas (suggesting),
· instructing and directing (telling),
· inspiring and motivating (selling)…
...as opposed to coaching where the focus is on:
· generating insights (reflective inquiry and powerful questions).
Each of these 4 communication styles has its own place depending on the situation, the skills, strengths and mindset of the client or client team.
However, leadership, management, training and mentoring can be delivered from a coaching perspective – integrating the coaching approach into leadership and management development; creating training and mentoring programs that use coaching methods to help make the learning “stick”:
· By integrating coaching with leadership and management training, you are able to support your team members’ personal and professional growth through impactful learning and development experiences that they will remember!
· In a similar way, coaching can be integrated with facilitation and mentoring in order to serve the client’s needs.