So, I just sit in front of someone and have a chat? They don’t necessarily give me any advice but that is meant to help me get better at my job? Erm, you are having, what I believe to be called, a laugh. How is someone asking me questions about what I already know going to help me “grow”?
Having been in the coaching game for 5 years now, this attitude is still fairly consistent in most people I encounter. “Coaching is more popular but I don’t really know why and I certainly don’t have the time or money to find out.” This kind of idea adds to the sense that it is all a bit of a scam. How can someone chatting to me have any kind of profound effect on me and my circumstances?
Well, I’m going to offer a challenge to that assumption. I’d like to share why I believe coaching is an absolutely essential experience when it comes to the develop of you or your people. It is something that can allow us to grow in ways we may not have even considered possible.
Getting out of your own head
Coaching has one main purpose really, it is to get you out of your head and experience the world from a different point of view. See things from other perspectives in order to open you up to new learnings, understandings and appreciation of other ways of doing things.
Coaches create a safe space for you to explore new ideas and perspectives. They help you challenge your assumptions about the world, which provides you with new ways of achieiving your development goals.
Everyone has their own perspective on the world. This has been created through their own experiences. Whatever your upbringing, your home environment or your school experiences, they have all impacted on how we see the world, and thereby how we experience problems and challenges.
Everything you encounter in life is observed through our own filter based on past experiences. This means everyone brings preconceived biases into situations. This can block our ability to see solutions.
An example of different perspectives
One common challenge that people struggle with is what to do and where to take their career. I so often hear that people have no idea what they want to do. Many people often give up and settle for whatever they have fallen into and never fulfil their own potential. Perhaps we were “encouraged” to do science at university and always felt that it wasn’t quite where we wanted to be. This can cause a great amount of frustration, trying to fulfil a role that we’ve grown out of. However, there may be a sense of duty or guilt about giving it up.
Having a coaching conversation can help us see another way. We can explore what is really important to us and pave the direction we want to take. We can explore limiting beliefs that we may have about other opportunities within the organisation. This is just an example of what coaching can identify. It allows us to explore actions we can take in order to move forward.
Everyone has some form of limiting belief that has been learnt through childhood experiences. These often come into conflict with something we feel we want to do. The result can be an extremely difficult experience that is tough to articulate. Through coaching, we can identify these conflicts and look at different perspectives on the same challenge. This allows usto take action and understand ourselves on a deeper level.
Coaching can facilitate the understanding of our underlying, subconscious beliefs and how they can affect our day to day actions. Beliefs are neither right or wrong. They are more helpful than unhelpful to you. By opening up to other ways of thinking we can make a more informed, confident decisions.
The power of a coaching conversation
A coach opens new doors through skilled questions, so we can see our thoughts from a different perspective. This can open up new creative solutions and actions. One of the key skills of a coach is the questioning. The conversation is non-directive and a stark contrast to being told what to do. This is known as directive. It may temporarily work, however, nothing is more powerful than finding our own solutions and making our own way.
It also generates a stronger capacity to think critically and analyse situations with a more balanced view. This opens up new ideas, better decision and ultimately better outcomes.
A reflection of other selves
Think of coaching as a mirror that shows a different self, many different selves. This may sound a bit kooky but it is actually quite simple. Through a coach’s questions, we’re guided to observing alternative ways of thinking, different possibilities. This is the power of coaching and why it isn’t a sham.
Most people spend the majority of their lives dealing with incessant self-talk that reinforces their own ideas about the world. This hinders their ability to try new things and tackle tough challenges. By engaging with a coach we can challenge our inner dialogue and open ourselves up to possibilities that we may never have thought were within reach before.
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