REINVENT YOUR FUTURE

What is coaching?

The International Coach Federation (www.coachfederation.org) defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Coaching frames conversations through powerful questions that help clients achieve their desired outcomes. When you refer to the International Coach Federation's definition of coaching, or one of your own, notice how the following philosophical threads that are woven into ICF's definition. Consider what a coach might say or do to embed these ideals into a coaching conversation or relationship.

1  |  Coaching  is  a  partnership.

The coach and the client are involved in a collaborative process that is totally focused on the person being coached. The coach must create a safe, trusting environment that provides opportunities for fresh perspectives and new ways of being can be explored.  Coaches walk alongside their clients, seeking to unlock their potential and increase their impact.

2  |  Coaching  accelerates  what's  already  underway.

Coaches have a mindset of curiosity and wonder as they help clients tap into their passions and preferred futures. Through deep listening and powerful questions, the coach helps the other person gain greater clarity about what they really want and what goals and strategy they need to employ to get there.

3  |  Coaching  maximize  potential  and  possibilities.

Coaches maximize potential as they move clients from what is to what might be. Coaches look for and develop the strengths, gifts and possibilities of their clients. They help clients move forward, learn from their results, and make course corrections based on new knowledge.

4  |  Coaching  sparks  transformation.

Transformation often shows up through the completion of short-term wins and changes in the "4 As" - shifts people's attitudes, assumptions, words, and actions. These shifts often include trying on new habits and ways of being, or helping people recognizing limiting beliefs that may be holding them back from experiencing a better, brighter future. There’s a strong emphasis on what clients do NEXT so that intentions become reality.  You might hear other coaches say, "If there's no change taking place, then you're not coaching?

5  |  Coaches  view  their  clients  as  the  experts.

Effective coaching draws out the strengths and wisdom of the client. They help clients identify where they can find the resources they need to move forward.

Questions  to  Ask  Yourself and  Your  Colleagues

  1. What parts of ICF's coaching definition most energize you?
  2.  Why do you think that coaching accelerated one's transformation?
  3. What's scares you about being able to demonstrate ICF's definition of coaching?
  4.  How would you describe coaching to a friend or a potential client?
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10 Comments


Jim LaDoux - August 15th, 2022 at 5:33pm

I appreciate ICF embedding "thought-provoking" into the definition. So much of coaching is about helping people think differently as they rethink their assumptions, actions, approaches, and even their attitude toward change. I also love that I serve as a dialogue partner for change and that people aren't relying on me for their answers and approaches. I also love the focus on accelerating changes. Constant improvement and progress toward a desired outcome usually generates the energy and momentum to keep moving forward.

Wendy Petrochko - August 15th, 2022 at 7:33pm

I appreciate ICF's definition of coaching to include maximizing a client's personal and professional potential. In our world today everything moves so fast, people do not take the time to stop, dream, reflect and transform. Transformation happens when you can get your dreams and ideas heard by a trusted and safe person, so those dreams can become reality. I know that I have the gift of reflective listening and I want to increase my knowledge of asking thought provoking questions. I would describe coaching as coming along side a person to offer a safe place to be heard and to offer hope.

MarQuita Carmichael - August 16th, 2022 at 10:02pm

I agree Wendy, the world is moving fast and expectations for immediate responses can be overwhelming. In the coaching experience that "pause" to reflect and try new approaches to move out of a place of "stuckness" is a great offering. Thank you for sharing,

Tom Pietz - August 16th, 2022 at 7:58am

I really appreciate the phrase, to "maximize" their personal and professional potential. Because that is what gives me the greatest joy when people are able to improve their lives by concentrating on action steps and get results they have hoped for.

In describing coaching to a client, I like the words used yesterday that we are not an archeologist digging up the past like a counselor, but rather, an architect helping facilitate the building of a new future. I shared that in Bible study this morning and the group really resonated with that. I also said that my role is to ask powerful questions that led to deeper insights and provokes action towards a preferred future.

MarQuita Carmichael - August 16th, 2022 at 10:05pm

"...my role is to ask powerful questions that led to deeper insights and provokes action towards a preferred future." This resonates with me as well. Thank you for bringing this up.

Lea Kone - August 16th, 2022 at 9:26am

What parts of ICF's coaching definition most energize you?

The words "maximize" and "potential" jump out at me in the definition. Whether for sports, professional or personal coaching, I think these terms hit on the essence of the role of a good coach.



Why do you think that coaching accelerated one's transformation?

I think we can only take ourselves so far. The "naysayer" voices in our head invite us to give up, feel bad about ourselves and lose focus. A good coach challenges these internal recordings and invites us to try for incremental change.



What's scares you about being able to demonstrate ICF's definition of coaching?

I am a little worried about taking on or feeling the emotional burden of the clients issues.



How would you describe coaching to a friend or a potential client?

Permitting a trusted and trustworthy individual to help achieve your goals and dreams.

Kim Boldt - August 16th, 2022 at 1:53pm

What parts of ICF's coaching definition most energize you?



I appreciate the balance within the definition: coaching as not simply a professional tool, but as a partnership for a flourishing life, personally and professionally.



Why do you think that coaching accelerated one's transformation?



I suspect many people are simply longing to be seen, affirmed and encouraged. Having someone who is "for you" walk alongside you for a period of time is profoundly motivating. One of my mantra's is "human beings are not individuals, but persons". We are irreducibly social. Individuals are complete in themselves (undivided ones, as the term literally means), but that is true of no human being. Transformation comes through all things social as person-in-relation: our sense of being beloved, our vocational value, and so on.



What's scares you about being able to demonstrate ICF's definition of coaching?



I am nervous about my ability to provoke creativity. Less so about thought-provoking, although I'm nervous about that in a different way (how to limit my contributions).



How would you describe coaching to a friend or a potential client?



I would describe it was a friendly provocation towards transformation and growth.

MarQuita Carmichael - August 16th, 2022 at 9:59pm

The very first part of ICF's definition of coaches, "the coach must create a safe, trusting environment that provides opportunities for fresh perspectives and new ways of being can be explored. Coaches walk alongside their clients, seeking to unlock their potential and increase their impact." this energizes me because creating a safe space is a gift I see myself offering the client/coachee. Once they enter the space they are free to reimagine what could be and steps they are able to come to their anticipated outcomes.

Having conversational partners that stay engaged and are focused on the expert, the coachee can help a person move and transition because the coachee is heard, and free to explore options that their colleagues, family ad friends may not support. The coach becomes the safe place create their next.

Jeff Smith - August 17th, 2022 at 10:13am

What parts of ICF's coaching definition most energize you? "Coaches have a mindset of curiosity and wonder as they help clients tap into their passions and preferred futures. " I use the language of God's preferred future a lot with churches I've served and love the idea of connecting people's passions to where they and God wants them to go to next.



Why do you think that coaching accelerated one's transformation? I think just being more intentional about ones goals and dreams helps accelerate progress.



What's scares you about being able to demonstrate ICF's definition of coaching? That if people aren't growing/changing, we aren't coaching. It makes sense, but if the client is the expert and ultimately responsible for changing, it's scary to rest my success as a coach on the motivation/dedication of a client.



How would you describe coaching to a friend or a potential client? Coaching is a process to help you as a client to reach your God-given potential and dreams through thought-provoking questions and careful listening.

Liz Miller - August 20th, 2022 at 3:28pm

What parts of ICF's coaching definition most energize you? Having a "thought-provoking and creative process" is exciting to me - I like that each coaching relationship is unique to the client. It keeps me grounded in who I am accompanying and their specific goals rather than relying on a past experience or assumptions that I'm bringing.



Why do you think that coaching accelerated one's transformation? Coaching provides a framework for clients to think through challenging situations or imagine a transformation that might get muddled in their head. I think having the framework of questions and accountability for next steps helps provide a clarity that is harder when you try to go at it alone. The potential and wisdom is already there for the client, a coach helps keep the focus moving forward.



What's scares you about being able to demonstrate ICF's definition of coaching? I can be a perfectionist and want to do things the "right way" which is challenging when you are working with people - there isn't one right way. I am leaning into trusting the process...



How would you describe coaching to a friend or a potential client? It is a relationship that can be utilized to help work through a challenge or achieve a goal. A coach asks provoking questions that help clients find clarity, next steps, identify resources and support they need, and stay focused on the process of transformation.

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