(Published in the Star on 19 Sep 2012)

There are so many definitions of coaching that it boggles the mind. Many coaching schools take different perspectives in their treatment of coaching. Some regard it as a conversation, an enabler, a catalyst, a relationship, a communication tool and so on. One coaching school, Corporate Coach Academy (CCA) regards coaching as a “larger than life” subject and should not be reduced to a small matter; it has a more encompassing definition that is able to bring out the full essence of what coaching is. (CCA is a leading international Coach Federation-based coaching school that offers certification and non-certification coaching programmes.)

In this regard, its definition of coaching is a “deep learning partnership with systematic steps to empower a person attain courage, capabilities and commitment to achieve fulfilling goals”.

What Does This Definition Mean?

To know this well, let us explore the meaning in some of the key words in three parts of this definition:

“Deep learning partnership” is about a very strong and meaningful relationship that engages more of the “heart” of the person where the emotions and feelings of a person reside. For transformation to take place, getting to where the person’s “internal engine” is the most effective place for the coach to work on.

The qualities of courage, capabilities and commitment should be strived for and attained in this order. This means that firstly, the person needs to pick up courage to act, followed by trying out the actions, which helps him to acquire the capabilities before he fully commits to doing more after he sees the results from his actions.

Fulfilling goals is helping a person find the compelling purpose of achieving the goal that he truly wants rather than doing this for others.

What Is The Outcome Of Coaching?

The key outcome of coaching is the coached person’s ability to accelerate his performance to achieve his goal. This can be done because it works on both the “inner self” (intrinsic) and “outer self” (extrinsic) of the person. Working on the inner self of a person is perhaps the greatest feat that a coach can do more than other professionals. Going into the intrinsic qualities entails exploring the person’s inner world where his deeper emotions, feelings, underlying issue, roadblocks and other “shadow issues” reside. When they can be corrected or removed, it frees the person from his self imposed prison walls to do what he always want to do:
This can be expressed in a formula:
Potential minus Self-Limiting Beliefs = HIGH PERFORMANCE

Taking this approach, the coach supports the person to “win his inner game” where he finds the mental strength of courage, self esteem and determination, etc. to fight his self limiting beliefs of fears, anxiety, and doubts, etc.

How Does a Coach Do It?

The key focus of every coach is to help his coachee win their “inner game”. The inner game is about the battle between the positive and negative self-talk that is taking place inside a person. Literally, the work of a coach is to help the coachee to raise the volume of his positive self-talk to suppress the negative ones. It can be as simple as changing the self- talk from “I can’t” to “I can”!

Winning the inner game or the removal of negative self-talk is about the successful removal of the coachee’s self limiting beliefs (or SLBs). In doing this, the coach listens curiously and attentively to his words and outlook which gives clues to the nature and type of his SLB, which could be anything from fear, self doubt, guilt, anger, or helplessness.

Once identified, the coach challenges the coachee to rationalise and evaluate the benefits he is gaining (or losing) in holding onto such beliefs. At the same time, he is challenged to see how much more he can gain from adopting an alternative (or a more empowering) belief.

When a coach succeeds in getting the coachee to remove their SLBs, it also means that the critical prerequisites of high performance relating to self-esteem, courage and self-confidence are being strengthened. Thus he is now on his way to experience the freedom of a better world.

How Much Did You Learn From Here?

  1. What are the key words that are found in the definition of coaching?
  2. Why is an ordinary partnership different from a deep learning partnership?
  3. Why is coaching able to accelerate the performance of people more than many other interventions?
  4. What is the work of a coach in helping a person win his “inner game”?
  5. What other insights do you gain from this lesson?