Nature and Scope of Business Coaching
By: Kris Koonar
Any established business can utilize business coaching as a resource to achieve a higher level of performance, learning, and satisfaction. After understanding the goals and work processes of a business, professional business coaches can organize a business coaching schedule and means of contact (e.g., in person, by phone, or via e-mail) that best serves the client. The nature of relationship between the coach and the client is a partnership, wherein the two come together to choose the focus, format, and desired outcomes of their work. Coaching does not aim at providing psychological relief or treat cognitive or emotional challenges. It aims to help the clients improve their learning and performance, and enhance their quality of life. Business coaching primarily focuses on the present and future with the only exception being that sometimes information from the client's past is used for clarifying where the client is today. Although the coach is encouraged to offer advice, opinions, and suggestions, the final decision of accepting or declining what is offered rests with the client who has the ultimate responsibility for action.
Coaches may or may not have specific knowledge of a given subject area or industry. Those who do have knowledge in other areas can use it to illuminate the coaching process but do not use this particular knowledge to identify, direct, or design solutions for the client. The relationship between the coach and the client is not based on the client's position or performance but is characterized by a growing and mutual appreciation and respect for each other as individuals. Information provided to the coach is used to promote the client's awareness and choice of action and not for evaluating performance or producing reports for outsiders. Coaching can be used to address a wide variety of subjects ranging from personal to professional as determined by the coach and the client. It empowers the client with a greater capacity to produce results and have a greater confidence in their ability to do so.
The business coaching process starts with the assessment of the business' current potential and challenges, defining the scope of the relationship, identifying priorities for action, and establishing specific desired outcomes. Apart from creating awareness about business processes, business coaching also provides a yardstick for creating coaching goals and actionable strategies, and offers a method for evaluating progress. In follow-up coaching sessions the coach supplies supplementary resources in the form of relevant articles, checklists, assessments, or models to support management policies and actions. The duration of business coaching depends on business needs and preferences.
Business coaching derives its concepts, models, and principles from varied sources such as behavioral sciences, management literature, spiritual traditions or other fields of the arts and humanities. These are then used for fostering shifts in perspective, promoting fresh insights, and providing an effective framework for managing opportunities and challenges. Coaching can also be based on an appreciative approach that focuses on what is right with the current business, what is working, what is wanted, and what is needed to get there. Through this approach, a coach can develop constructive communication skills and methods that the individual or team can utilize for enhancing personal communication. This approach is simple and offers a huge potential to harness creative thinking and goal-oriented action.
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