BY ABLE COACH
Dr Shan Narayanan
Many a times when I have discussed or spoken about Coaching, I am asked “What sports are you coaching”. I deal with this question with a smile and reply…..well , coaching is an integral part of sports, however there is another aspect to coaching….coaching to make meaningful improvement in performance in personal and professional life.
In sports there is clear line between coach and players, there is a winner and a loser and the sports/games have a set time period. Whereas in Coaching to improve performance, the coach and the coachee are equal partners. The belief is the coachee has the answers to their own limitations within them. The coach does not instruct but facilitate through a conversation to unlock the potential of the coachee.
The coach does not claim to be the expert in solving the coachee’s issue; rather is focused very much on the coachee and what their views are on the issue at hand. The key skill of coaching is asking the right questions to help the coachee work through their own issues. Coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and focuses on “here and now” rather than the distant past or future. The coachee is thus supported to learn.
Sir John Henry Douglas Whitmore, 2nd Baronet (16 October 1937 – 28 April 2017), an author and British racing driver said, “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them”
The biggest obstacle to improved performance is one’s own self-limiting belief or one’s own inner dialogue. In coaching, the coach, through asking the appropriate questions, creates awareness in the coachee of his self-limiting belief/negative inner dialogues. This awareness in turn creates a paradigm shift in the coachee’s perspective of his issue. The new perspective gives the zest to the coachee to bring out the best in himself.
Tim Gailwey a famous coach whose long term clients are Apple, AT&T, The Coca Cola Company, and Rolls Royce, says, “biggest obstacles to success and achieving potential are internal, not external”. His insight was that coaches could help individuals improve their performance by distracting them from their inner dialogue.
Thus in summary, coaching is a modality where:
- The belief is the obstacles and answers to the obstacles are within the individuals.
- Through facilitation, the coach supports the individuals to find the answers.
- The awareness created brings about a paradigm shift in the perspective.
Coaching is thus about winning the” inner game”. This enables the individual to make meaningful and fulfilling improvement in his performance.