What is the essence of coaching?

This chapter will reveal the benefits and importance of coaching in your leadership journey. You will look into the essence of coaching to understand how powerful and effective questioning can guide you towards achieving your goals. However, it is important to understand that coaches do not advise you or tell you what to do, but facilitate your journey from where you are now to where you want to be.

Lucy Barkas

I remember the first time I experienced coaching. It was probably early 2000's and I went on a performance coaching course.  Sir John Whitmore had published his book, Performance Coaching, in the late 1980's, and during the 1990's more companies were beginning to trial this new approach to raising performance. It was a simple GROW model, backed up with powerful questions which helped the coachee/employee to find solutions and take action themselves. It blew my mind, both as a coachee and as a coaching manager. Managing others became so easy and performance rose.

Then in 2010 I was given a leadership coach, and that's when I realised what real coaching was. It was life transforming. Whereas GROW was focused on empowering others around a goal, leadership coaching was deeper. It asked even more powerful questions about what I wanted, my values, beliefs, blocks and barriers. I realised my strengths and owned my weaknesses.  I became accountable for leading my own life, my people and the impact I wanted to have on others. And soon my own leadership coaching journey began.

Coaching can be described in many ways. I explain it as asking powerful questions to help someone else to make conscious decisions and take action towards what they truly want. It might be a goal, a behaviour, a business or a relationship. Nothing is out of the realms of coaching. The coach is a guide or facilitator for someone to achieve what they want.

The essence of coaching is: 

To help a person change in the way they wish to change and helping them go in the direction they want to go. 

Supports a person at every level and in every part of their work and life in becoming who they want to be. 

Coaching is a fast-tracked learning and development approach that builds confidence, awareness and empowers choice. 

Coaching can guide a person to the delivery of the desired outcomes and, therefore, it could act as a change catalyst. 

Having a coach means you have someone who is actively observing your performance and behaviours, noticing your language and words, and helping you to see it too.  It is a relationship like no other. They create a safe space so you can show up fully, with trust and challenge. They hold a mirror up to your strengths and weaknesses and truly want the best for you. Like a best friend, they care deeply, yet hold you to the truth and stretch you to be more and do more.

When you have a coach to help you can clarity, you can then choose whether you want to keep doing what you are doing, or make a change.  


Choice is the key.  

Choose to do nothing. Choose to change. Choose transformation.

You choose.

Coaching helps the client to achieve their personal best and to produce the results they want in their personal and professional lives. The coach holds the client accountable for becoming their best, learn and develop in a deeply personal way. 

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