Well, it’s not advice giving (phew!) and it’s not therapy.
It is providing the time and space and plenty of challenging questions to explore certain areas of your life. These areas are not prescribed or preselected, they are your choice, and therefore selected and directed by you (the coachee).It might be exploring your value set. Perhaps you want to create and stick to goals that energise you. It could be looking at a career change or job crafting. Maybe you want to identify your strengths and learn how to use these more. It could be exploring meaning in your life and how to craft and own it. Here is a short video that explains the difference between a coach, mentor, consultant and therapist.
Generally a coach will have a process or model they like to follow, they may tell you about it (or not), but a session will look something like this:
- We meet, perhaps in a coffee shop or an office, and agree on a focus on for the session. If you’re unsure where to start, I’ll prompt you with some questions about yourself, what you’re currently doing, what you want to be doing and the space in between.
- Once we’ve agreed the focus, we will explore some possible barriers, pre-existing norms and expectations and hopefully break some of these down to reveal solutions and ‘where to next’. My role as a coach is to support your thinking and exploring without judgement, so I will ask questions as along. These questions are meant to challenge you!
- By the end of the session we will have explored a few different potential actions, and some of these (chosen by you) may be homework for our next session.
As a coach, I’m not invested in outcomes. So while I will want the best for you, in my capacity as a coach my role is to recognise that you know yourself best, that you are the expert on you. My role is as a facilitator or depending on the questions, a catalyst. If you want to change the focus of a session, or coaching in general, you can.
Why am I writing about Coaching? Coaching and Positive Psychology is an unregulated area and also new to a lot of people. The existing research on it is positive and promising, and I’m a big believer in doing more of what makes our lives worth living, which is what coaching and positive psychology focuses on. I’m doing this because I love making the most of my life and want to help others make the most of theirs.
It also happens that I’m currently completing my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology (MAPPCP for short – try saying that quickly 10 times over).