“Embodied Learning” Coaching, “Limbic” Coaching, “Emotional Intelligence” Coaching, “Law of Attraction” Coaching, “Somatic” Coaching… and what about “Solution-Focused” Coaching itself? So confusing!! Too many names, too many claims.
But Coaching is simplicity itself.
Becoming an effective Coach is a different matter – if Coaching is a simple concept, that does not mean it is easy to execute.
Here is my own take on Coaching:
- Coaching is a purposeful conversation. Nothing more, nothing less.
According to the ICF (International Coach Federation), the purpose of a Coaching conversation is to “help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.”
To do that, Coaches are trained in different “protocols” (i.e. sets of assumptions, questions, communication strategies…).
I use ‘Solution-Focused‘ protocols: they are well supported by research and they have at their core the assumption that is featured in the ICF definition of Coaching: “the Client is the expert in his/her life and work and … every Client is creative, resourceful, and whole.”
What kind of change can a conversation bring about? As Liselotte Baeijaert brilliantly put it, a Solution-Focused Coaching conversation “leaves the client changed: with more hope, with more creative ideas, with a feeling of competence, with a clearer view on possibilities“.
No quantum mechanics or spiritual laws need be involved.
- Coaching can also be Observing and Giving Feedback (i.e. constructive comments on the performance observed, with the aim of improving the performance itself). This kind of Coaching is often referred to as “Behavioral Coaching“.
‘Behavioral Coaching” is not that different from coaching in Sports. It is at the root of “Deliberate Practice“.
Clients might want to develop some specific behaviors or skills (e.g. public speaking, interviewing skills…) and the Coach helps Clients practice. By simulating and observing the Client’s performance and by giving appropriate feedback, the Coach helps the Client acquire the desired capability. Think a tennis / swimming / ski… instructor. With a sprinkle of psychology.
Again, there is an art in observing and giving feedback and the Coach is an expert on that.
But that’s it.
A good conversation. Strategic and scripted in the mind of the Coach, but naturally flowing (if the Coach is good) from the Client’s perspective.
Or a keen eye and a good checklist.
I know, no glamour here – in terms of marketing appeal no competition with terms like ‘energy boundaries” or “somatic matrix”.
But conversations and checklists have something going for them – they work.