What is coaching?
By Marzieh Nezakat-Alhosseini
Author at Iranian Home of Resiliency
During the past few years, coaching has gained a lot of interest in Iran, and has attracted scholars from different fields of study and various occupations. The term “coach” was first used in 1830 in Oxford University to refer to tutors who accompanied students through their examinations. Subsequently, coaching made its way to sports in 1860. Today, coaching is not restricted to any specific field or context, and has gained a widespread application. The International Coaching Federation has defined coaching as follows:
“Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
As it can be inferred from the above definition, coaching intends to help clients make desired changes in their lives, and get into their favorable path in life. In fact, it helps people achieve their potentials, and thereby, promote their personal, social, and occupational functioning. The common belief in coaching is that people, by nature, know the answers to their problems; however, they need assistance accessing them. Therefore, coaches are not there to teach things to clients, rather they are there to help them learn.
An important note to make regarding coaching is that “giving advice” has no place in coaching. In fact, as mentioned above, it is commonly believed that clients know best what works for them, even better than the coach, so the only responsibility of a coach is to help clients access their resources. People refer to coaches for a variety of reasons including career developments issues, work-related relationships, balancing personal and career life, gaining self-confidence to deal with work-pace requirements and confrontations, stress management, and decision making issues.
People having experienced coaching have reported coaching as a life-changing experience which has had substantial impact on their viewpoints to both personal and career life. These people are of the opinion that through coaching, they have gained leadership skills, have become more creative, and as a result, more productive. Moreover, they have reported gains in self-confidence, social communications, and job-related functioning.
To understand more of coaching, the coming notes will be on different types of coaching and their applications for different target groups.