5 Principles of Executive Coaching
We all know and understand what a CPA, banker or a doctor does. But the field of coaching has as many flavors to it as there are coaches.
“To have an empowering coaching relationship, the coach must recognize that people have the inherent creativity, intelligence, and tacit knowledge they need to succeed, but may need help in gaining access to it.” Robert Hargrove in Masterful Coaching.
We all know and understand what a CPA, banker or a doctor does. But the field of coaching has as many flavors to it as there are coaches. In fact, it might be very difficult to choose a coach and you may have to work with several before you find one that will work for you.
In my coaching practice, I have taken on the five following principles of coaching. Though I did not create these 5 principles, they are the foundation for how I coach and work with my clients.
1. Clients are capable, resourceful, and whole. This is the most important principle of coaching. Many of the helping professions treat people as though they were broken, dysfunctional, or less than capable. Coaches recognize the brilliance and power of their clients to solve their problems and design the lives they desire. This principle does not mean that people are always acting from their higher selves. At times, client have been conditioned to believe they are less than capable. However, a coach asks the appropriate questions and guides the process.
2. The agenda comes from the client. Clients are in charge of the coaching relationship. The job of the coach is to “hold the client’s agenda” and ensure that they are continually moving towards the results they want. The coach is not an expert who can tell clients what is most important in their lives or how to live their lives. The coach helps clients give voice to what is most important and then focuses on the process of how to get there. This principle honors and respects the full capability of clients.
3. The focus is on outcomes. Coaching “begins with the end in mind”. The coach is continually helping the client to clarify the outcomes they want. As such, the focus of coaching is on creating the future rather than getting over the past. Helping the client to articulate the outcomes they desire guides the entire process, whether setting goals to achieve a larger life vision or solving day-to-day problems.
4. The process addresses the whole life. Coaching helps the client achieve fulfillment in all areas of their lives. Even when the primary focus of coaching is to improve job performance, it is important to remember that clients are “whole people” and success or failure in one area of their lives affects other areas as well.
5. The relationship is the catalyst. The relationship between the client and coach acts as a catalyst that “calls forth” the full potential of the client. Through their interactions with a coach, the client tap into their power and abilities to create the life of their dreams. However, the focus of the relationship is not on the coach, per se. The power is derived from the relationship, tailored to the unique needs of each client, and mutually designed to empower the client to achieve their highest goals.