Having a coach has become the norm. Ten to 15 years ago it was the domain of executives who had business and professional coaches, now, many of us use coaches to achieve goals.
Personal training is a form of coaching coupled with instruction. The great work our practitioners do at Melbourne Wellness is coaching and training.
What then is the distinction between coaching and training or instruction?
Training or instruction happens when we lack skills to achieve an outcome. To beat my wife at tennis I need to be able to return serve on a regular basis. Currently my skill level is low. This isn’t a mindset issue, it's basic technique. To excel requires instruction that I can only get through being shown how and receiving feedback.
Coaching on the other hand “enables people to think for oneself, solve problems on one’s own, develop creativity, own responsibility for actions and for taking action” (L. Michael Hall, Coaching Mastery, 2016).
The vital difference is a coach assumes you have all required resources available to you to achieve your goals. Nothing is missing, broken or defective.
A coach facilitates a process to help you to identify and access your strengths, resources and powers to then direct them towards a goal. Working with you to identify and create motivation, a plan to work with and accountability measures.
There are many different coaching conversations:
Decision making - make a commitment to a goal
Clarifying - explore, discover, make clear and reduce ambiguity
Planning - create a strategy to achieve a goal
Resourcing - to access your resources to apply to a goal
Change or Transformation - to change behaviours, beliefs, understandings or internal programs.
For many years I worked in corporate roles and consulting. Many associates or clients requested coaching to either plan, access existing resources in new ways or to create transformative change. My preference is to work with people on transformational change.
What is transformational coaching?
It is not for the faint-hearted, but it is for those who know that doing the same things won’t create the changes they desire in life.
Transformational change is what helps us move to Maslow’s Self Actualising concept. It's where we identify areas in our life that hold us back from achieving meaningful goals. Now, a meaningful goal is meaningful to a person - it isn’t about what others may find meaningful. All of this work is internal to you. In this article I am not listing what constitutes transformational change - it is too limiting to create a list. If it challenges you and will significantly change your beliefs about yourself, meanings and understanding of your world, then it is transformational.
What is involved in transformational change?
Defining the change - Creating a clear and positive change.
The role of a coach in this phase is to ask valuable questions that cause you to define a positive change. Humans search for meaning. When we first looked at the stars we longed to create meaning from the vast vision above us. To help us we created stories of gods and deities that lived amongst the stars.
Change is the same. To change requires you to find meaning for and in the change itself. A coach will facilitate this through questioning and challenge.
Underlying beliefs - Understanding and confronting underlying beliefs that have held you back.
Underlying beliefs tend to sneak up on us. We may not be aware they exist, or that the beliefs we have are a handbrake to self actualising. Beliefs are helpful as shorthand for decision making. However, there are beliefs that hold us back from our goals. Limiting beliefs are reflected in the seemingly insignificant phrases we repeat to ourselves. For example:
I am not very good with numbers,
I am not very good with people,
I can’t control my “emotion”
I am a big picture person, I can't do the details.
Inside each of those phrases is a small prison that may block an area of life. A coach can help you identify those prisons and find a way to expand the beliefs.
Motivation - creating a deep and valuable reason to change.
Creating change is hard work. The only person that can do the work is you. A coach can help you identify the motivation for change.
Left to our own devices we often find superficial reasons to change. I want to lose weight, I want to make more money, I want a bigger house for my family.
All of those statements are true. In my experience, supporting these reasons are more fundamental and higher purpose reasons. Finding those reasons provides more energy and emotional connection to the goal to keep us on track.
Habits and plan - Creating a process or plan to change.
The final step is having a plan. Without a plan, there is generally very little change that can be made. Coaches can help you develop a plan, bench test it and most importantly keep you accountable to the plan.
In my experience, there are many benefits to using a coach. Primarily they hold up a mirror to your beliefs and assumptions that respectfully challenge you to examine these critically to assess if you can change. Overwhelmingly the answer is yes. A coach can help you create the motivation and build the resources to be the best version of yourself.
Written by Jack de Leeuw, Director, Melbourne Wellness