By Claire McEnery 
 
Not many people know what coaching is and why they would need it in their life. I totally get that... I was one of those people. 
 
So, to kick off this blog it makes sense to start with a 'What Is Coaching' series. I will be explaining what coaching is, what coaching isn’t, how I coach and how it may benefit you. 
Part One: Coaching is about you. 
 
Coaching can be a very confused and misunderstood area of support. So many careers, job titles and areas of expertise can use the word coach, which means it doesn’t always mean the same thing.  
 
Take a sports coach for example, this is a valued area of expertise used by many professionals and ambitious sports men and women to improve their skills. A sports coach will be expected to have vast knowledge in the area they’re coaching in, such as a football coach or tennis coach. They’ll use their knowledge to create a plan to support their client, this plan will include direction by the coach. 
 
However, a life-coach uses a non-directive approach. When coaching someone for their own personal development or to work through a specific difficulty, the coach does not have the answers, they have the questions. A skilled life coach will use powerful questioning techniques, along with other coaching tools to encourage the client to think for themselves. 
 
Coaching is not about taking advice and following a path based upon someone else’s opinion. Coaching is about finding the confidence to make your own decisions and explore your own thoughts on a deeper level than we do on a day-to-day basis. 
Non-directive coaching was something that put me out of my comfort zone to start with. 
 
I had mentored my team daily and I had received mentoring in different roles. Mentoring is where the direction and experience of the mentor drives us forward to improve our skills (just like a sports coach!).  
 
Coaching doesn’t do that. Coaching gives the driving seat to the client.  
 
Once I realised how powerful an open-ended question can be, I recognised how important non-directive coaching is. The client is given time to think, explore their thoughts and feelings and answer for themselves. This is where potential is unlocked. 
 
When you stop considering other people's opinions and start to consider your own options, that’s where the magic really happens! 
I take a person-centred approach to coaching which enables the above-mentioned magic to emerge. By person-centred I mean that you as the client will be doing most of the talking and I will be asking the right questions to provoke your thoughts so you can talk some more. 
 
A coaching session is not about my views or opinions, it’s about you. Now, don’t let this scare you! You are not expected to know what you need to talk about or how you feel before the session starts. It is my job to know which questions you need to get you thinking and because it’s your own thoughts there is never a wrong answer. The most exciting moment in coaching is when I see a lightbulb moment in a client. You can truly see it happen and that is when I know that progress is being made. 
 
So, that’s the first part of what coaching is. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s about you, not me. 
Please do check out the other parts of this series. I'm sure you'll find them helpful. Also, if you have further questions, please do contact me or book a call. 
 
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