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What is Coaching?

The International Coach Federation defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential." Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach's responsibility is to discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve.

Coaches are trained to listen,to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. Through the coaching process, the coach encourages client self-discovery and elicits client-generated solutions and strategies.

The coach's job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.  Coaching concentrates on where individuals are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future. And finally, coaches hold the client responsible and accountable for accomplishing the actions needed to successfully achieve the client’s desired results.

What are some typical reasons someone might work with a coach?

There are many reasons that an individual or team might choose to work with a coach, including but not limited to the following:
  • There is something at stake (a challenge, stretch goal or opportunity), and it is urgent,compelling or exciting or all of the above;
  • There is a gap in knowledge, skills, confidence, or resources;
  • There is a desire to accelerate results;
  • There is a lack of clarity, and there are choices to be made;
  • The individual is extremely successful, and success has started to become problematic;
  • Work and life are out of balance, and this is creating unwanted consequences; or
  • The Individual has not identified his or her core strengths and how best to leverage them.

How can you determine if coaching is right for you?

To determine if you could benefit from coaching, start by summarizing what you would expect to accomplish in coaching. When someone has a fairly clear idea of the desired outcome, a coaching partnership can be a useful tool for developing a strategy for how to achieve that outcome with greater ease. Since coaching is a partnership, also ask yourself if you find it valuable to collaborate, to have another viewpoint and to be asked to consider new perspectives. Also, ask yourself if you are ready to devote the time and the energy to making real changes in your work or life. If the answer to these questions is yes, then coaching may be a beneficial way for you to grow and develop.

What are the benefits of coaching?

A coaching partnership supports the achievement of extraordinary results, based on goals set by the individual or team. Through the process of coaching, individuals focus on the skills and actions needed to successfully produce their personally relevant results. The individual or team chooses the focus of conversation,while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions as well as concepts and principles which can assist in generating possibilities and identifying actions.

Through the coaching process the clarity that is needed to support the most effective actions is achieved. Coaching accelerates the individual's or team’s progress by providing greater focus and awareness of possibilities leading to more effective choices. Coaching concentrates on where individuals are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future. ICF Cleveland member coaches recognize that results are a matter of the individual's or team’s intentions, choices and actions, supported by the coach's efforts and application of coaching skills, approaches and methods.

What are the factors that should be considered when looking at the financial investment in coaching?

Working with a coach requires both a personal commitment of time and energy as well as a financial commitment. Fees charged vary by specialty and by the level of experience of the coach. Individuals should consider the desired benefits as well as the anticipated length of time to be spent in coaching. Since the coaching relationship is predicated on clear communication, any financial concerns or questions should be voiced in initial conversations before the agreement is made. The ICF Cleveland Coach Referral Service allows you to search for a coach based on a number of qualifications.