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What does a coach do and what is coaching

What does a coach do and what is coaching

Why is it important to know what coaching is and what a coach does?

This thing with coaching or calling yourself a coach has become very popular today. There is no shortage of people who call themselves everything from life coach, sales coach, leadership coach to motivation coach or mental coach. Here I will address what a coach is and is not, what they do and do not do, and the difference between different coaches. My hope is that this can help you make a good choice when it comes to finding the right coach for you. But first I want to clarify the concept of "coach".

Coach is a title that outwardly is both worn and fuzzy at the same time. On Google and social media, there are coaches in abundance with coach titles that I mentioned earlier. There are also others such as stress coach, adhd coach, speaker coach and more. This means that coaching in itself is an extremely widespread profession where it can differ very much about which methods are used. 

“The word coach is borrowed from English and means coach. That means a person who deals with coaching, in other words engaged in some form of exercise.”

But is it that simple, that a coach is really a coach?

Both yes and no, but mostly no. I want to give you clarity about the type of coach you were probably referring to when you googled and found this one article!

Because the word coach can also refer to different kinds of coaches (or coach) in sports, business, etc., then it is a title that becomes second next to impossible to regulate and certify. It will therefore be difficult to maintain some form of quality level (However, there are organizations that strive to create a quality assurance. I will return to the latter). In Sweden, you are not allowed to wake up one day and call yourself a psychologist or doctor, you must have identification to be allowed to practice the professions. But you can wake up tomorrow and call yourself a coach.

Of course, there are many who have a fantastic talent for meeting and supporting people, but the importance of the right education combined with experience makes a big difference. Let's just take a brief example. If you are going to undergo an operation, you want to make sure that the surgeon has undergone the necessary training. and also has experience in surgery. You do not hire either a painter to do the job you need an electrician for! In the same way, it can be good to know what theoretical knowledge and training your potential coach has so you can make an informed decision. I will return later in the article about different educations and what can be good to keep in mind if you are looking for a coach or yourself considering becoming a coach.

So what is coaching?

Do you know when your boss, or your polar bear who is the boss, told you how good the latest training in coaching leadership was? How happy they were when in the last conversation with one of their employees they used some open questions and thought they were a fantastic coach. What they did does not matter, but here we go approach us meaning of what I think we usually mean when we talk about coaching in general. So in the future when you read here, it means that when I write about coaching, the word takes one deeper meaning that is more than the direct translation of the word to "training". The word coaching also becomes a kind metaphor which is about that support people to some kind of change, growth or transformation.

“Coaching is about having powerful Call. It will happen something, otherwise it's just a nice conversation.

Which of course is not to diminish, but as I always say to my clients… You should not pay anyone to have nice conversations, you can use your friends for that. In my own work as a coach, I basically use two approaches to create powerful conversations; Call for action and deepen learning. You as a client need both. On your journey, you should both move Forward, but you need at the same time grow as a person on the road. One can not exist without the other if we want powerful conversations. Just as actions lose their meaning if you do not grow along the way, or if you learn a lot of new things but do not act on your lessons. The coach's task is largely to keep the client in a state where they have the opportunity to grow, gain clarity, insights, increased awareness and find more of what is needed to get to the goal.

Coaching is both one method and one relationship, one do and one be. In the same way, you are both in one doing and one being, in other words your actions and who are you Meanwhile. A coach can use many different tools such as listening, questions, metaphors, visibility and more. But if there's one thing I've learned during my time as a coach, it's that it is not the tools that make the coach. A master to coach can accomplish great changes and insights with the help of curiosity and skill in the use of only a few of the tools available. This is exactly what makes you as a client get that WOW feeling, because coaching does not just become an intellectual process where problems must be solved. It becomes so much more than that, an experience that captures both heart and brain.

The picture above describes some of the biggest differences between the counseling, coaching and therapy.

What is the difference between different types of coaches?

You have probably heard of many different types of coaches so far. Everything from life coaches to success coaches who may work more with individuals. Head coach, sales coaches, and business coaches in companies and sports coaches or mental coach in sports. There are of course many more variants. But what is the difference? 
As I mentioned before, it depends on what kind of coach we are talking about. Some coaches take on the role of expert or advisor, which then means that the coach becomes more like a title than that they use the method coaching. Other coaches who use the coaching method and then do not take an advisory role as an expert on how the client should do. The first thus leans on his competence within the subject to support you, where the focus is on the subject / problem itself and how you should solve it. That type of coach would probably not work with things that fall outside their area. The other type of coach works completely differently, there the focus is on you and your plant. You come up with a topic / problem and the coach works with your own expertise and experience and to create an environment where you become your best self. From that place, it becomes more likely that you both grow as a person but also that you can move on. These coaches can work in many different areas because they are not at all dependent on their own competence in the subject. It is even in many cases an advantage because then the coach can not be tempted to stick in with tips and advice from his own experiences that may risk hindering the client's development.

How do I find the right coach for me?

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a coach and the first (and one of the most important) things are personal chemistry. I can not say it often enough, but personal chemistry plays a very big role. Coachens must feel right for you. How else can you be safe and confident in your relationship? I have a coach myself and have tested several different over the years. For my part, there has only been one that I have really clicked with so far. Keep in mind that the "best", most experienced coach on paper does not have to be him correct the coach for you.

The second thing you should think about (and really take seriously) is the coach's training. Here I would say you need do your preparatory work! Find out what the coach has for education, look at the website for that education, look at reviews of the education, how it compares with others. 
Why should you do that? As I mentioned earlier, anyone can call themselves a coach, it also means that anyone can create a course in three weekends and then say that everyone who has done it is a "certified super life coach". I would be wary of these coaches because it's not just about the damage that a person without skills risks exposing you to, but also if responsibility, secrecy and they ethical guidelines that a coach should follow. You as a client are completely unprotected and your coach has no one to answer for whether he acts in an unethical or unprofessional way.

“You would be surprised if you knew how few people ask me about my education, how it is in relation to other coaching educations or who take the time to read more about the educations that exist.

By doing your research, you see both whether the training is solid and established, while you do yourself a favor in being more aware of your role and what you get into. So always ask more about the training, especially about the coach does not refer to it on its website in any way.

The third thing that can also be important is the coach's experience and level of certification. Some courses only have a certification that the coach receives when he has completed the entire program, while others have several levels. There is also a difference between certification through education and certification through a so-called union. There are a couple of different unions that work to standardize coaching in the world. The biggest today are International Coach Federation (ICF). Through them, a company can be approved to conduct training in coaching (this is the most common training for coaches in Sweden). These are coaching companies that have trainings, and after a person has completed their training and met the requirements, it becomes a certified coach according to ICF. But what is also important to remember here is that two educators who are approved by ICF can have very different structures and content in their educations.

After that, ICF has three levels of certifications, where each level requires significantly more experience (coached hours) and also a larger process around evaluated interviews and tests. So there can be quite a big difference between coaches at different certification levels. You can read more about this here.

Then we have the independent educations with their own certifications. Some of these have been approved by ICF as well, which means that they have shown that the coaching that is taught is according to ICF's principles for coaching. It can differ quite a lot where some courses are completely online or completely in physical form, how long it is, what they cost, where they are offered and how extensive the certification process is. The difference between taking a smaller course and becoming a diploma in Sweden or taking one of the major educations abroad can therefore vary greatly in how much time and money the coach has invested. Everything from SEK 20,000 to SEK 150,000 and up, and some weekends up to several years.

Here are two of the top educations in the world:

inPec (Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching)

These have been active for 15+ years and have educations in the USA, Canada and Europe. Solid training for coaches who also focus on the business part for those who work as coaches. The coaching style that they teach is called Energy leadership and is about how you shift your energy to reach your potential in life. More about iPec here.

CTI (Coaches Training Institute)

CTI is one of the educations that has existed the longest of all. They have played a role in the founding of ICF, they have also been an important part of coaching becoming so big in the world. In addition, they have written the book Co-Active Coaching which is the most read book on coaching. The coaching style that they teach is of course called Co-Active Coaching and is about how you in a specific way create the relationship between coach and client, to be able to bring out the best in each other to achieve everything you want. This is one of the coaches that there are most of in the world and they have trainings in all continents. You can see more about the Co-Active model this video. You can also read more about CTI and Co-Active here.

Hope this provided clarity.

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About the author

Tommy Davidovic
Tommy Davidovic

Cert. Coach (CPCC, PCC, CTPC) & Mental Trainer. I help achievers in sports, career and life to maximize their success and feel good in the meantime.

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