Coaching is an action-oriented, future-focused process based on the goals that you set for yourself. The coach's role is to facilitate your thinking, insight, ideas and action and to challenge unhelpful beliefs and behaviours. The agenda remains yours. The coach will aim to access your full resourcefulness so you achieve the change or developments you want to make.
Changes in one area of life, such as taking on additional responsibilities at work, will impact on all other areas. It is for this reason that coaching helps you to consider your work performance and development in relation to the whole picture: many factors such as health, family and social considerations can also be discussed.
Focus - regular coaching sessions means paying attention to your development. Appointments are scheduled, time and reflection are given.
Self-discipline - involving someone else in your development means it is a lot easier to keep up the momentum of change and to ensure it remains a priority.
Perspective - the coach will probably not have hold a job just the same as yours, but can bring new perspectives, challenging any tendency you may have to limit or sabotage yourself.
Support - a coach can provide encouragement and support for change. Colleagues, friends, and family may have a fixed idea of who you are, or how you should be. Making changes involves monitoring the effects on those around you, with someone who can remain impartial.
Feedback - feedback on aspects of your current performance can be a useful tool in deciding what changes to make. New skills and behaviours can be developed, followed by further feedback and reflection.
Developing others - the experience of being a coaching client can help if you have responsibility for developing others, such as members of your team or students. The process can give valuable insight into your own learning style, and how that interacts with others.
Whereas the emphasis in counselling tends to be on problems and personal insight, coaching is more about fine-tuning aspects of your work, performance or work-life balance. Whilst personal issues may arise, rather than focusing on these as you would in counselling, the emphasis remains on your goals.
If you refer yourself for Coaching, the confidentiality agreement operates as for counselling.
If your manager suggests coaching to help you with specific parts of your job, then it can be important that everyone understands and is in agreement with what the focus of coaching is and how it will be evaluated. All three parties need to agree about what feedback will be given to the manager and when. Feedback will be agreed jointly between the client and coach and be a transparent process.