“Coaching is the art of helping a person to find their own solutions” according to Socrates. Coaching has no therapeutic aims, even if it is part of the disciplines of personal development. However, it may be relevant to accompany a therapeutic approach, to help better support a treatment or to generate behavioral changes beneficial to health. So far, the majority of publications have focused on the usefulness of additional training in coaching. Many health professionals (nurses, pharmacists, dentists and others) use coaching to help patients adopt new lifestyle habits, cope with changes, or cope with different treatments.
It’s easier to define what coaching is than what it is. Indeed, today, the term coach is very usurped and sometimes overused. A coach is neither a psychotherapist, nor a counselor, nor a mentor, nor a trainer. We could compare the coach to a private “motivator”. A bit like having your own sports coach, but for your professional or personal success. In short, the goal of the coach is to help his client to clearly define his objectives, to establish concrete strategies to achieve them and to persevere in his approach.
The preferred tool of coaching is questioning. Some coaches only communicate with their clients by phone or skype, others prefer face-to-face contact. By asking the right question at the right time, and through questionnaires, various communication exercises and scenarios, the coach tries to thwart the other person’s defense mechanisms. “And if you happen to fail in this project, what would be the impacts in your personal life?”, it helps him discover his strengths and weaknesses, redefine his values and draw on the full range of his resources.
Between the coaching sessions, the client has exercises to do, whether theoretical (specify goals, find new strategies) or practices (adopt a new attitude with his employees or his boss, no longer nibble between meals). Another essential element, a coach does not give advice to his client, does not offer solutions and does not influence but rather helps him discover his own resources and make the most of it. As a sports coach, a coach can suggest strategies, motivate his players, demand the best of each; but he will never count goals. Only customers can reach their goals. They must therefore be solidly determined and willing to change
The benefits of coaching
Better manage your stress and your emotions
Restore self-esteem and self-confidence
Identifying your strengths and knowing how to value them
Becoming a player in your life: Act rather than suffer
Better live the phases of personal and professional transition: separation, mourning, dismissal, reconversion, retirement
Building a personal and professional life project, consistent with one’s personality and deep values
Coaching – In practice
The term coaching is not protected, whoever can claim to coach. You will have to make sure yourself of the competence of the speaker. Certification by a professional association is a good starting point. But check the credibility of the association in question: number of members, code of ethics, possible recourse, etc. Most associations offer a referral service to their members. Some reputed coaches do not belong to any association. The relationship of trust and “complicity” with the coach are essential. Do not hesitate to consult people around you and ask for references. There are several coaching currents, some more humanistic, others more pragmatic. For example, members affiliated with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) are happy to use telephone or email coaching, while members of the French Coaching Society (SF Coach) prefer face-to-face meetings. Similarly, some coaches focus more on the development of the person (nutrition, fitness, family, career path, etc.) while others are more focused on resolving conflicts within companies or the development of professional skills (time management, creativity, communication skills, etc.). Although the duration and frequency of the meetings may vary according to the needs of the person and the model developed by the coach, the coaching programs are most often staggered over about three months, for a one-hour session.
Coaching takes place over a period of 3 to 6 months, with sessions between 1 hour and 2 hours depending on the objectives, and in 2 stages: Step 1: Analysis and definition of the client’s objectives. The 1st session is dedicated to the establishment of a climate of trust and a benevolent framework between the coach and his client. It also allows the client to express his goal, which will be clarified in subsequent sessions. Step 2: Follow-up of actions. This step makes it possible to evaluate the actions carried out, analyse the results, what worked and what did not work, identify the obstacles encountered, the brakes and put in place new solutions. The number of interviews varies depending on the objective. Count between 6 to 10 sessions. Each session starts with the definition of the objective of the session and ends with a new action plan.
The different types of coach
The life coach
The life coach accompanies men and women to develop their resources and talents to achieve their professional or personal goals.
The company coach
He or she intervenes either for individual or team coaching on problems experienced in the company: How to be a good leader? How to communicate better together? How to prepare to better live his retirement?
The sports coach
He or she takes stock of his client’s sporting and physical goals by setting up a sports and/or food program.
The nutrition coach
He or she accompanies, advises and motivates his client (sedentary or athletic) towards a better diet while meeting his specific needs. There are still other fields of application of coaching. However, it is appropriate for everyone to be discerning to verify the seriousness of coaching professionals.
Coaching is always a voluntary and motivated approach of the client. Indeed, its commitment is essential and will facilitate the achievement of its objective in a sustainable way. Coaching is a process that can “shake up” and challenge beliefs and values that have often existed since childhood. In this, we can consider that the coach is a developer of talents and resources for his client. And the latter will come out more confident and strengthened in his personal abilities. Be careful, however, to check the professional references of the coach (schools, diplomas validated with RNCP certification, code of ethics, referencing in professional directories) before you decide on one.