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How do you define coaching in your workplace?


Posted by Doreen Petty 1 June 2011 @Toolbox.com
During a recent free-form conversation in a networking group, someone asked about the definition of coaching. The gist was that, in that person’s workplace, coaching and mentoring were used interchangeably, though in a previous workplace, they were distinctly different roles. Several people contributed different perspectives on coaching to the discussion, some focused on the role of coach and others focused more on the impact to the coachee (e.g., development or performance gains.)I’ve seen lots of different definitions of coaching over the years, but one source I especially like is from “The Complete Guide to Coaching at Work” (Zeus & Skiffington, 2000). What I like about the Zues and Skiffington definition is that it is a group of statements that define the heart and function of coaching. The definition is essentially as follows, though without all the descriptive text that follows each statement (If you have the book, this is from page 3):

– Coaching is essentially a conversation
– Coaching is about learning (yet a coach is not a teacher)
– Coaching is more about providing the right questions than providing answers
– Coaching is about change and transformation
– Coaching is about reinventing oneself
– Coaching also operates on an emotional plane

I would add that coaching is, at it foundation, a helping process where a successful outcome depends on a good and trust-based relationship between a coach and coachee. 

How do you define coaching in your workplace? Does your definition come from written sources within the organisation, or from actual experience and perceptions of the participants in the coaching process” Finally, does the actual coaching process (if any) in your organisation meet your expectations for what coaching ought to be?

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