There are many definitions of coaching / executive coaching, here are just a few of them:
“Coaching is the facilitation of learning and development with the purpose of improving performance and enhancing effective action, goal achievement and personal satisfaction. It invariably involves growth and change, whether that is in perspective, attitude or behaviour” (Peter Bluckert, Psychological Dimensions of Executive Coaching, 2006).
The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential”.
"A collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee (executive)." (Anthony Grant, University of Sydney, 2000)
Executive coaching focuses on the agenda of the executive and the executive’s goals. Executive coaching is a series of one-to-one sessions (or conversations) that facilitate the executive learn about himself or herself, develop and determine their own solutions and answers. The process provides the executive with an objective, and focussed thinking partner. When the goal or challenge is clearly identified during the coaching process, the executive is then empowered to determine their plan or solution.
It’s important to understand the difference between coaching and advising, mentoring, counselling and other developmental interventions.
Executive coaching is not:
- Offering expert advice (the executive is the expert)
- Therapy / psychoanalysis (the coach needs to know where the boundaries lie)
- Tell (it is about “ask”)
- Guidance and advice (it’s about exploration)
- Direction (it’s experiential, new ways of doing, thinking, learning)
- A makeover (it’s about long term growth and change)