Coaching is a work-based relationship whereby an individual with knowledge and expertise in a particular field assist others (clients) to identify and develop certain skills (Flaherty, 2010). In this field, individual’s strengths and weakness are identified. This significantly helps a person/ client to grow as an individual. The results of a coaching relationship are vital in enhancing an individual’s acquisition and integration of skills, which are applicable in personal and professional environments (Hughes and Curphy, 2006).
Coaching is a continuous process, which requires client’s input and utilization of specific skills designed to empower an individual to attain a set of objectives. Coaching is a relationship founded on principles of understanding a client’s needs and giving support to get the right skills that are necessary for their success (Underhill, McAnally, and Koriath, 2007). A meaningful coaching relationship depends on the core competences required to attain positive results (O’Broin and Palmer, 2006).
Competencies for effective coaching
According to Flaherty (2010), core competencies show that a coach is able to posses and implement organizational and psychological knowledge, business acumen, coaching skills and personal attributes needed for coaching tasks (Flaherty, 2010).
At all times, a coach must approach a client with a lot of respect while handling him with good relationship building skills (Wycherley and Cox, 2008). This is critical as it helps improve client’s self-esteem and in the process, speed up their growth (success). An ambitious coach should always use direct questions to engage a client in an active state. This allows a coach to determine needs of a client as well as understanding his feelings. Coaches who listen carefully without passing judgement usually create a good relationship with clients. Such coaches listen and they do not display agreements or disagreements. A good coach always gives support and encouragement to all clients (Dutton and Ragins, 2007). Display of confidence in a client’s ability is also critical.
Effective coaching practices
Core competencies require a coach to have the capacity to demonstrate the ability to make a quality relationship with a client through team building and teamwork activities (Bass and Riggio, 2006). When a coach utilizes appropriate tools in providing a client with useful information, it encourages, motivates and helps a client to identify needs, develop goals and undertake an action plan that eventually improves ones skills (Hernez-Broome, Boyce, and Ely, 2010).
As a good coach, one must always demonstrate skills in identifying those factors (within a client’s environment) that can affect the intended outcomes (Hughes and Curphy, 2006). As a coach does this, he counter attacks clients’ weaknesses and therefore improves their strengths. As he engages his clients, a coach gives positive feedback in a responsive and sensitive manner. His ability to make sound a judgement concerning a client is fundamental in applying knowledge in teaching skills that meet client’s needs (Wycherley, and Cox, 2008). A skilled coach also offers core competencies by encouraging clients to integrate and practice learnt skills into their daily work.
Core competencies assist a client to compare experiences, new information and skills using past experiences to build on a good future (Flaherty, 2010). This is a critical aspect for successful coaching. Helping a client to use newly, acquired skill to make informed decisions and sound judgements prepares an individual for the future. As one makes a decision based on the past, his point of view is firm since he now has experience concerning the same. Excellent coaches know how and when to allow their clients put into practice newly acquired skills (Wycherley and Cox, 2008).
A successful coach enjoys watching clients develop and celebrates when they competently display professional skills previously unknown to them (Flaherty, 2010). Welcoming clients into their professional circles ensure a smooth transition too (Davidson and James, 2007). Celebrating achievements with clients is fundamentally pertinent to developing a community-learning programme to cement acquisition of new professional skills. In addition, a learning environment is essential for clients unlike other settings that undermine a client’s personal development (Flaherty, 2010).
As a coach, one should manage his time properly (Davidson and James, 2007). It is also very important to have report writing and record keeping skills. This is essential for easy monitoring and evaluation of a client progress. In essence, a successful coach does not control nor deny clients referral services, resources and knowledge of professional development opportunities.
Core competencies embrace a variety of quality management strategies during times of conflicts. These conflict management strategies enhance the ability to identify, prevent and minimize all negative impacts arising from conflicts. Events that could end up destroying a client’s development occur mostly (Hughes and Curphy, 2006). Professionalism displayed during these times demonstrates core competencies on the coaching relationships. A successful coach includes his clients in conflict resolution strategies necessitated by events (Davidson and James, 2007). There is no room for sidelining clients.
In a coach-client relationship, core competencies show signs of a professional ability (professionalism) in establishing those expectations that are achievable by a client (Flaherty, 2010). Proving dependable is paramount, as a client understands the dangers of having high expectations that are not realistic. Competency demonstrates dynamism in providing techniques and strategies for developing skills to address a variety of learning preferences and styles (Davidson and James, 2007).
Professionalism reveals a deeper knowledge of value in the coach-client relationship (Hernez-Broome, Boyce and Ely, 2010). A successful coach values and honours his duty as well as respecting a client. Competency at all times demonstrates the ability to clarify purposes and outcomes in a coach-client relationship. It also demonstrates commitment to maintaining personal growth for upholding quality coaching standards and maintenance of confidentiality in discussing sensitive subjects, choice of topics and results (Bass and Riggio, 2006).
Factors that affect coaching outcomes
Positive energy: A coach should demonstrate an enthusiastic, optimistic and energetic characteristic (Fredrickson, 2009). Effective management of emotions is important as a coach since it demonstrates a sense of resilience and has room for corrections (Fredrickson, 2009). Mistakes do not harm the process but makes a coach even stronger. He should posses a good sense of humour to a client and be ready to assist in overcoming challenges.
Assertiveness: It demonstrates the ability to tackle issues openly (Bass and Riggio, 2006). Confronting those who do not follow through on assignments as well as letting coaches know their limits. Respectable communication that reflects a person’s worth also has an impact on the coaching outcome.
Self-confidence: Showing great sense of maturity, typically demonstrates a coach’s wisdom gained from professionalism as well as personal experience. Self-confidence is key to achieving positive results. Demonstrates that success is not just a matter of an individual, it is a collective responsibility (Hughes and Curphy, 2006). Exhibiting self-confidence in dealing with senior management, demonstrating courage and willingness to tackle situations that involve taking significant risks has a positive influence on clients.
Sensitivity to issues: By showing empathy to others, a coach proves that he is sensitive and demonstrates a human interest to clients (Fredrickson, 2009). In demonstrating concern and showing compassion for the well being and needs of others, a coach creates a personal touch with his client (Bass and Riggio, 2006). It encourages them, as they are able to interact freely with their coaches.
Integrity: Maintaining an ethical standard is pivotal to successful coaching outcome. Clients look up to coaches who walk the talk, are honest, straightforward and genuine when responding to different issues (Hughes and Curphy, 2006).
Flexibility and openness: Understanding and appreciating perspectives that are different from their own is fundamental (Christakis and Fowler, 2009). Coaches need to be dynamic in understanding certain individuals and groups. Cultures and societies are different hence the need for coaches to embrace that fact. Demonstrating flexibility means a coach is able to deal with the needs of different clients.
Coaching is a dynamic field with activities that indulge a coach and client through challenging situations. Because of challenges, there is a need to understand the fundamentals of quality coaching outcomes (Hughes and Curphy, 2006). Coach’s commitment as well as that of a client is paramount. Both parties must join hands together to form a formidable and success oriented relationship for triumph. Mutual trust and respect are pillars of coaching outcomes in order to achieve both short and long-term organizational and individual goals.
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