Many people think that coaching is about giving people advice. We see coaches on TV giving advice all day long and most of us think “This is hokey, what makes this person an expert on life?” The International Coaching Federation (ICF), the global leader in setting coaching standards worldwide agrees that the advice giver is not coaching at all. They are doing something else, which we will get to in a moment. So what is coaching? The ICF defines it as “A creative and thought-provoking process that inspires people to maximize their potential.”
In fact, part of becoming a certified coach with the ICF requires one to submit a recording of a real coaching session they conducted and if any advice is given, the ICF will not certify the coach even at the lowest entry level. This is because according to the ICF, giving advice is not coaching. It is consulting. Telling people what to do or how to do it may give them new information or a model, but it is not creative or thought provoking to heat someone else give us advice and it cannot inspire us because inspiration comes from us becoming really clear about who we really are and what we really want. This is what coaching is all about: helping others discover who they are, what they want and how they want to go about getting it. Coaches then hold their clients accountable to this plan and because the plan came from the mind of the client, it is so much more of a fit for them than an externally provided solution. So if coaches don’t give advice what do they do? Coaches spend most of their time doing one of four things:
- Providing Transformational Listening (check this eBook out to learn about this powerful tool)
- Asking Powerful Coaching Questions
- Designing an Action Plan
- Providing Accountability
Here is a video that walks you through all of this.