This is how I've come to define it...
In coach training, we work hard at inviting new coaches to work on their own definitions. There are cognitive reasons for this: working the problem of the definition encourages thought and reflection. Words are powerful, and they don't just describe reality. They become reality.
When I teach a new section of ELCA Launch, it always excites me early on to hear the definitions new coaches produce. The key to what's exciting me is the joy I feel over someone imbibing a way of being that's fundamentally transformational. I don't know if those I'm helping to learn coaching will become super coaches themselves, or simply subconsciously pack away the concepts and use them informally. In either case, I know that their presence with others will be changed, their questions better, and their outcomes more profound.
MY power words are: ALLIANCE. and INTENTIONAL PRESENCE. and POWERFUL QUESTIONS. and NEW AWARENESS. and TRANSFORMATION. and CHANGE.
What is your definition of coaching?
What are your power words?
My commitment isn't to coaching. I love coaching, and love what it does for people. But my commitment comes from the posture it takes with people and what it does TO people. There is no other relational posture like it. Counseling isn't like it, consulting isn't like it, mentoring isn't like it, community organizing isn't like it. It stands alone.
This isn't important unless your goal is the transformation of people's lives. That isn't to say that human transformation can't occur in those other relational constructs. It IS to say that the path to transformation is shorter in coaching. That's because it works with how human brains, human commitment, and human effort are actually engaged.
Here's what I mean:
1. The client does the choosing. Human beings are more engaged and committed when they are in the driver's seat. Transformation cannot come from disengagement.
2. The client does the exploring. It's her journey. It's her life. It's her ministry. It's her concern. It's her challenge. The topography she's working on is in front of her and no one else. Because of this, it is uniquely RELEVANT to her.
3. The client does the realizing. The uniqueness of coaching is that it facilitates someone else's shift - the transformation of awareness. Only your client can have that shift. Your job as the coach is to leverage presence and the best, cleanest questions you can to facilitate that shift.
4. The client says it. As behaviorist Steven Sisler asserts, the human brain is more committed to what it says than what it thinks. Saying something engages commitment in a way that thinking never will.
5. The client acts on it. Perhaps most unique of all, in the coaching relationship, when there is a shift of perception/awareness/insight, the client can be asked: what is different for you now? What will you do with this? What will you do differently in this next week because of this? The insight of coaching engenders action, new behaviors, and because of this the transformation of life.
I'm not committed to coaching. I'm committed to human transformation. As a leader in the body of Christ, I've been called to catalyze kingdom in Christian community. And the Kingdom is all about people...people who are stepping in new ways into the unique narrative of the resurrecting God.
I'm a coach because I'm committed to transformation in light of the gospel. And nothing else gets it done quite like coaching.
What are you committed to?
Towards human transformation,