MT Masterclass - Coaching

What is it? There are almost as many definitions of coaching as there are coaches. Practitioners disagree over whether line managers can also coach their staff, whether mentoring, counselling and 'life coaching' mean the same thing (they don't), whether coaches should offer direction, and whether coaches should be retained for finite periods or semi-permanently.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Masterclass takes the view that coaching is a non-directive, finite relationship, probably with someone from outside the company, that remains confidential, but where the 'coachee' is held accountable by the coach for meeting commitments.

Where did it come from? Behind every great sports team stands a good, often vocal, coach. But when Tim Gallwey published The Inner Game of Tennis in 1972, he changed the image of the coach for ever. The idea of a questioning, challenging but supportive coach migrated from sport to business. But at firrst, coaching was an under-the-counter offering for senior execs. CEOs would put 'haircut' in their diary before going for a session, for fear of being seen as too new-age. Or bosses would ask: 'I've already got to the top, why should I need a coach?' To which came the reply: 'Well, Tiger Woods has a coach and he's quite good already.'

Where is it going? Coaching is about raising performance. It has arguably become bastardised - not enough formal accreditation or validation is available. The Work Foundation's partner, the School of Coaching, is a rare exception to this. Coaching has also fallen prey to the company car syndrome - 'Mine's bigger than yours', 'How come I don't get a coach?', and so on. The challenge lies in introducing a coaching culture throughout an organisation, through which managers learn to tell a bit less and listen a bit more.

Fad quotient (out of 10) Steady at 7. But what do you think?

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