The International Coaching Federation (ICF), one of the leading industry organizations for professional coaches, has designated the week of February 5th through 11th, International Coaching Week. During this week coaches from all over the world are asked to help increase the awareness of the benefits of professional coaching to the general public. Around the world there are coaches who offer their services complimentary during this week. There are gatherings where coaches speak about the benefits of coaching. No matter whether the activities are ones where many are present or are a small intimate gathering, the intent is to share the benefits that a coaching relationship may have for an individual.

As my time and experience as a coach continues to grow, my own awareness of the benefits of the profession continues to expand. There are two questions that I commonly receive when people learn I am a coach. The first is just what it is that I do as a coach? The second is whether or not coaching truly works? I’d like to share with my readers my thoughts and observations to these questions.

So, what is it that I do as a coach? In a one on one session with a client I am first and foremost a listener. I look to facilitate conversation by asking thought provoking open ended questions of my clients to get them to express what it is they truly want to do as they move forward with their life. Many of my current clients are in some aspect of job search and career change. For some, there is uncertainty as to what they would like to do next. A combination of excellent assessment tools and discussion often helps to trigger thoughts of directions to explore. Once a direction is identified, we’ll work out plans as to how to learn more about it. Sometimes that comes in conversation with others already in the area in which they are interested. Other times it comes in book or internet research. However, after each session, I make sure my client takes away next steps that they will look to do until our next session. Clients tell me this is one of the best parts of the process for them because they feel a sense of accountability to do what they indicate they will do to me, as their coach, but most of all themselves.

However, beyond the one on one session, I find that I very much share with others what I have learned as part of my studies. Many a coach gives generously of their time in education sessions possibly at their local library or adult school. I myself facilitate a twice monthly session of Professionals in Transition at my local library. Additionally, I am drawn to be a continual learner. I am constantly drawn to articles that are written by others in the profession that I may be able to incorporate concepts from that I can use in helping others. The books I often read now are in different areas of self help. Additionally, the learning of a coach continues through constant networking with other professionals both inside and outside the coaching profession. A good number of coaches are entrepreneurs, (often newly so), as they move from their coaching studies to the actual aspect of developing their coaching practice. Many of the skills they learn as part of coaching others, also become ones they need to implement into themselves as their new business venture becomes established.

The question of whether or not coaching truly works has both an easy and difficult component to it. It has long ago been proven that coaching truly does work as there are many individuals who have moved forward to the life they have desired by working with a professional coach. However, in looking again at that last sentence the key words in it are move forward. As I think back on the clients with whom I have worked and continue to work, the ones who have been most successful with the process are those who become committed on only looking forward. They’re willing and open to suggestion and discussion on different approaches to address issues. They realize while they may be able to learn from a past experience, there is nothing to gain from obsessing over it. Additionally, they follow through and do what they say they will attempt from session to session. If a new behavior does not work for them, that’s all right. They now have experience in knowing what may be comfortable for them to do, and what may not.

When may coaching not work for an individual? Coaching does not work if an individual is already providing you reasons why a particular approach may not work before even trying it. It also does not work when the client insists on going back to a point in the past and wishing that things were exactly as they were then, (even if sometimes that point in their life was a painful one). Additionally, it does not work when the client views the coach as the person with all the answers, as opposed to the one to help facilitate drawing the answers out of the client themselves.

Perhaps you may find that an International Coaches Week event is available at a location near you. Or if not, if there is an opportunity in the near future where there is a coach providing a complimentary talk or educational class consider checking it out if it is a topic of interest to you. Most of all remember the following. When you are tired of being stuck where you are or the same approaches appear to not be moving you forward, there is likely a coach that you can reach out to that could be the catalyst to help propel you forward to that next level that you are looking to reach.

Author's Bio: 

Tony Calabrese of Absolute Transitions provides suggestions, approaches and information on how you can find a new job, move up to a new position, or change your career. To get his free report, "Overcoming Obstacles to Change Your Life" visit