Coaching: a process or a practice?

When most coaches first start out they follow a coaching process – a model, or a series of steps that will (hopefully) lead to their coaching client taking action.  At the IEC, when we teach new coaches (at Level One) we start them out in the same way – with a relatively prescriptive model. However, coaching [...]


When most coaches first start out they follow a coaching process – a model, or a series of steps that will (hopefully) lead to their coaching client taking action.  At the IEC, when we teach new coaches (at Level One) we start them out in the same way – with a relatively prescriptive model.

However, coaching is only ever prescriptive like this at the very beginning; a new coach knows that the tried and tested processes will get results.  And it is always interesting to hear from coaches as they begin moving beyond the models…those who have begun to realise that they know the models well enough to let them recede into the background.  Then the coach can focus more on the person in front of them than on what question they are going to ask next.  Once a coach gets to this stage they begin to get great results; our research shows that 92% of our coaching clients are satisfied or very satisfied with their coaching.

So, how does a coach get to that stage?  Through a) training and b) practicing and c) reflecting on practice.  Skipping any one of these steps makes it very hard to move forward as a coach to that relaxed place of what we call “unconscious competence” – where (like driving a car) you are doing what you need to do without having to think about what it is that you are doing.  The Institute’s coach training program is designed to lead coaches towards this goal.

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