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  • Writer's pictureDr Maike Neuhaus

The power of coaching to accelerate the self-leadership journey

I love coaching. Put simply, coaching is the process of supporting someone’s development in a direction determined by the coachee (i.e. the person being coached) and through methods of active listening, providing feedback and asking questions.

Coaching is based on the philosophy that every problem comes with a solution; and, that the best solution for a coachee’s problem is inherent to the coachee themself rather than the coach. The coach merely provides a guiding framework to support the coachee in finding it.

While there are many different frameworks coaches might use, to give you an example, a commonly used one is the GROW model.

GROW is an acronym and stands for: goal, reality, options and will (or way forward).

Goal prompts the coach to ask questions about the current situation, the problem at hand, the goal and/or what the coachee would like to support with. This first step also includes establishment of the goal the coachee would like to achieve within the coaching session(s).

Reality means that the next step (i.e. once the goal has been explored) is to explore the current situations, including what the coachee has already tried to solve the problem/ achieve the goal and what has and hasn’t worked so far.

Options is pretty self-explanatory, too: What are your options? The key is to ask powerful questions and be creative to challenge the coachee to think outside the box and explore more imperceptible options. Examples include: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? What would you try if you knew you had everyone’s full support? What avenue would you explore if money wasn’t an issue? What would be the wrong thing to do?

Finally, ‘will’ builds on all collected insights from the coaching session and asks the coachee what steps they are willing to take next. They will also ask about any support that may be needed, and where they will guide the coachee to formulate a SMART goal and do some coping planning. A coach will also hold you accountable to your agreed goal.

Coaching is powerful, because when it comes to the way we perceive obstacles and solutions (or lack thereof), we often don’t see the forest for the trees.

When answering a coach’s questions, merely hearing ourselves speak out loud what is actually going on inside our thinking machine can lead to many AHA moments; let alone, when we receive feedback from the coach - “So, do I understand correctly that you are not planning to apply for that dream job of yours, because you’re sure you wouldn’t stand a chance anyway?”. So if you’d love some support for self-development or to work through a problem or towards a goal of yours, hiring a coach can significantly accelerate your journey.

There are a ton of different coaching specialisations, tailored to life areas such as business coaching, executive coaching, life coaching etc. If coaching is something you can afford – I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, in many countries the coaching profession is not regulated. This means that pretty much anyone can call themselves a coach and provide coaching services. Expectedly, the coaching market is usually flooded, with the training, experience and skill of coaches varying greatly.

On the other side, a good coach might charge for one session a whole week’s worth of groceries to feed a family of four. If that is not viable for you, you don’t have to miss out completely. Instead, you can learn to coach yourself! While it may not be as effective as being coached by someone else (no speaking aloud, receiving feedback and objective input), it is better than nothing and at the very least, helps you to build a growth mindset. Look out for the next blog post on how to coach yourself.

Have you ever hired a coach before? What has been your experience?

Maike x


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