Coaching itself is defined as “interactions that help the individual being coached to expand awareness, discover superior solutions, and make and implement better decisions.” Through coaching, an employee will gain perspective on their situations and be able to come up with an effective solution. They will also develop a higher level of commitment to the solution and the outcome because it came from within themselves. As a coach, it is necessary to make sure that you have the correct mindset and skill set. The mindset is the manner with which the coach guides the conversation with the employee, and it precedes the skill set. A coach’s mindset should dictate that they can get more done by developing their employees and gaining their trust. A coach’s skill set involves actual steps the coach can take during the coaching session, such as listening to both what is said and what is not said, exploring the consequences of particular actions, inquiring about the employee’s desired future state, and holding the employee responsible for agreed-upon commitments.
Coaching is not mentoring, where a more senior individual is guiding the “mentee” through the organization and giving advice that may not be relevant within the next few years. On the contrary, coaching can occur between a manager, their employees, their boss, and between peers. Coaching is also not teaching, where a more senior individual purely conveys information that the student lacks. While coaching does contain elements of teaching, it is more than the straight passing of information. Coaching can also become confused with counseling, which helps people who are experiencing inner turmoil or dysfunctional behavior work out their issues and learn how to behave and act more effectively. Coaching is similar in that it is training people to act more effectively through finding solutions to their own problems, but the people who receive coaching are not always experiencing inner turmoil. Once leaders are aware of exactly what coaching is and coaching’s many benefits, they are ready to proceed to the next step, learning new and effective coaching strategies.