Although coaching is something that is frequently associated with sports or physical skills, it can be deployed in many more subtle ways in classroom and workplace environments. Whether you are talking about business, education, lifestyle or relationship coaches, the aim is always the same – to mentor someone so that they feel as though they have been transported from where they were to a new place having gained more experience on the way. And yet, being a good coach is more than merely being able to teach and to pass on knowledge.
This is because coaches will often do much more than hand over information to their charges – just as a good teacher creates an environment where students feel free to express themselves. In other words, the ability to actively listen, to restate crucial matters eloquently, to question false assumptions and to clarify ideas are all important parts of what makes some coaches more successful than others. This is why coaching is often viewed as an interactive experience for both the coach and the person being coached. In other words, although it is possible to learn some theoretical ideas from a coach by watching a presentation or reading a book, the coach will need to be present in some sense for the process to work. The most usual way is to do this face to face, but coaches can also have some success through virtual meetings and even phone calls where this is not possible.
Many coaches run taster sessions which allow people to get an idea of their approach and to understand a little more about the potential benefits of being coached. In some cases, a strong relationship between the coach and the person being coached can develop. Ethically, however, coaches should not allow such a relationship to become too personal and remain operating within professional standards.
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