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Coaching: An Alchemical process

boy jumping over the mountains

Coaching has become a buzz word. Performance coaching, skills coaching, development coaching, career coaching, you name it.

What is really driving the boom in coaching: life is no longer linear; instead of driving straight down the road, we make right turns, left turns, sometimes u-turns, abandoning cars to get motorcycles.

The rules of the game constantly change & we want to be ahead in this fast-paced environment.

Coaching is a practical, goal-focused form of personal, one-to-one or team learning for busy executives (Hall et al 1999). It is generally used to improve performance or executive behaviour, enhance a career or prevent derailment, and work through organisational issues or change initiatives. Coaching is a collaborative, solution-focused, results-oriented and systematic process.

Coaching shifts attention away from problems and root causes, toward a clear-eyed concentration on strength, vision and dreams.

You may want to enhance your cross-cultural competences, improve your conflict management and leadership, work towards better work-life balance, or address broader challenges in your organisation. And, indeed, coaching will help you develop new skills or abilities. It will embed the theoretical learning which you may have acquired in a training programme, and anchor this new information into your consciousness. Coaching is highly effective because it occurs over a longer period of time, generally 4 to 8 months, and thus the ideal complement to a training course or action learning project. But there’s a by far larger impact to it. Not only will your coaching experience influence your productivity. You will end up with increased self-awareness, better appreciation of your strengths, enhanced communication skills, and better relationships at work and at play.

Having been coached myself when cycling through a challenging career transition some years ago I know: coaching is by far more than a skills-enhancer, it is life changing. It correlates with greater competence, resilience, and access to personal as well as social resources. Whilst being coached, I learned to focus on what is positive and to pay attention to my growth and others’ – before deciding to enter the profession myself, completing my training as a co-active coach with CTI (Coaches Training Institute).

To quote American psychologist Carol Kauffman: “Coaching is both science and art.” And art is about transformation. Coaching can be considered as an alchemical process. For it is all about transformation. We may start off to acquire new knowledge in one area of our life. We will soon find out that the coaching process leads our thoughts down many other, different pathways, stimulating us to begin reverse how we think about events, ourselves and others. Co-active coaching recognizes the interconnectedness in our lives. A career choice is likely to influence our family, our friends, our health. Every decision we make stretches into other areas of our activity.

Co-active coaching takes account this broader context, in the end helping us lead more engaged and meaningful lives!