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- Jean Houston

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Frequently Asked Questions

question and answers about Executive Coaching in Milton KeynesBelow is the answer to "What is coaching?" and also some other frequently asked questions.


What is coaching?

In his book Effective Coaching, Myles Downey’s definition is: 
“Coaching is the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another.”
The primary intention is to improve performance, which may include learning new skills or knowledge and may also involve self development of the individual. The facilitating part is acknowledging that the individual ultimately has the inner resources required to achieve the improvement. Coaching is not teaching, but is a catalyst to speed up the process of improvement and achieve the desired results far quicker than if the individual were working by him or herself. The coach works with the individual to fully explore the background to a situation and all of the options available to take a solution forward, allowing the individual to make more informed decisions on what the best course of action is.
Coaching is a future-focused, non-directive and non-judgemental process that facilitates self motivated change within an individual, to move them forward in a positive way, quicker than they would by themselves.
What benefits can be achieved from coaching?
Coaching can be used to improve performance.  this may be where someone needs to improve or it could be someone who is already a high-performer and is capable of performing even better.  It compliments other forms of development such as training to fill skills or knowledge gaps.
Research by Olivero, Bane and Kopelman (1997) found that training alone increased 
productivity by 22%; however training with the addition of coaching increased productivity by a very significant 88%.
Who will know what is discussed?
Everything that is discussed within the coaching sessions is confidential between the coach and the individual being coached.
In a business situation there may also be a sponsor (often the individual’s line-manager); however, although the sponsor may have a part in setting the overall aim of the coaching, the coach will not divulge any details of the coaching sessions to the sponsor. The coach will however encourage the individual to discuss the outcome of the coaching sessions with their sponsor.
Where, how long and how often are the coaching sessions?
Coaching sessions can be face-to-face or over the telephone and typically last an hour. The frequency of the sessions is partly dependent on the types of actions being taken by the individual as a result of the coaching, as there needs to be enough time for the individual to make progress; however typically it will be a session every two to four weeks.
How many sessions will there be?
The number of sessions can vary based on what is to be achieved; however a set of sessions is typically between six and 12 sessions .
How does coaching compare to other interventions?
Although there are some similarities in terms of questioning technique and listening, other interventions differ from coaching.
Consulting – is usually used to address a specific business issue; consultants propose a solution with the consultant expected to have specific expertise regarding the issue being addressed.
Mentoring – is providing advice based on the Mentor’s personal experience of having been in a similar position.
Counselling – usually deals with personal or emotional issues; looking at what has happened in the past.
Coaching – is future focused and non-directive; the coach does not give advice and although an expert in the coaching process, does not necessarily have detailed knowledge of the individual's area of expertise.