From helping leaders with their management style to gaining more job satisfaction, contributing more effectively to the organisation and learning how to take the right actions to achieve goals, coaching can be used in various ways to great effect.


How does coaching differ from mentoring?

Coaching and mentoring are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably but, while they both help individuals harness their potential, they actually refer to different approaches. A mentor is someone who shares their own knowledge and experience with someone to help them develop in their role, while a coach is someone who guides a client with their goals and helps them reach their full potential.

In a mentorship, the mentor is likely to do much of the talking to offer expertise, while in a coaching relationship, coaches will pose questions to enable their client to reflect and respond. Both coaching and mentoring are centred around helping people reach their goals, but the approaches are different.

What does a coach do?

What a coach does depends on what you’re hoping to get out of your business, your organisation, your team or yourself. They can help individuals focus on a specific skill they want to hone, such as communication or time-management, or they can assist with career transitions like moving up the career ladder into a leadership role for the first time or changing careers entirely. Coaches can also help you and your team (through team coaching) to overcome work-related challenges that are unique to your organisation.

Coaches are experts in their respective field of coaching. They begin their coaching process by learning everything about you as an individual and your organisation. They aim to understand your personal drivers, motivations, goals and values, and  your organisational purpose, values, value proposition and anything else that will help them understand where you are now, and where you want to be.

Coaching sessions usually last between 45 minutes and 2 hours, and can take place as often as weekly, though monthly sessions are perhaps most common. In these sessions coaches use questions to guide, support and challenge coachees through their challenges and decisions. Good coaches will ask questions that really stimulate their clients to think and reflect, leading them to new insights and to clarity regarding what they should do to achieve their objectives.

Coaches can work with individuals at all levels and stages of their career, from those stepping up to a more senior role for the first time, to experienced leaders who want to hone their skill set, as well as group-based coaching for challenges that affect entire departments for a more cohesive business.

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What are the benefits of a coach?

There are many ways that a coach can help leaders, managers and even more junior individuals in organisations to think through complex situations, gain clarity on what they should do next and become unstuck or more confidence in their course of action.

With a coach, you have the opportunity to talk and reflect with a trusted partner; someone who is on your side and wants to see the best for you. These sessions are a peaceful break in a hectic week that you can look forward to, exploring the challenges you’ve been facing and developing clarity in your venture with a helpful guide.

One of the primary benefits of working with a coach is that they help you develop self-awareness to reach your own conclusions and decisions. It’s a skill that benefits you in the long-term, helping you to gain more ownership over your decision-making than if someone tells you what to do. With the help of an experienced guide, you’ll learn what works best for you and your organisation for those all-important moments of valuable insight.

One of the key benefits of working with a coach is improved goal achievement rates. A good coach will not only help their clients set goals, but also help them to track their own progress, so they can ensure that they’re moving in the right direction and working with clarity every step of the way.  A coach will also act as your accountability partner when things get tough. They’ll be there to support you through the ups and downs that are inevitable in work, business or life, and make sure you stay on track without losing momentum.

Coaches are adept at helping clients to think through and refine organisational processes that are already in place, or to identify new ways that things can be done for better results or greater impact. In so many organisations, processes tend to be a ‘set it and forget it’ affair, but that isn’t always conducive to efficiency or productivity. A coach offers a fresh perspective that can shake up your routine to get more out of you and your team – something that’s essential if you want to succeed in reaching your goals and develop a competitive advantage.

As a business owner or organisational leader, you know your industry and you’re good at what you do. But that mindset, however true it may be, can lead you to see your business subjectively. Coaches can identify strategic ways to improve your performance and look beyond the obvious to shine a spotlight on areas where you could be improving as an individual, or as an organisation. This strategic mindset helps you to navigate forward instead of plateauing.

Another advantage of hiring a coach is that they can help leaders build their confidence and work with clarity and vision. Coaches are there to offer an unbiased view – they can show you what you’re doing well, where you excel and where you need to work harder. As a leader, it can sometimes be hard to see this clearly because you’re constantly battling the challenges that running a business brings up. Having the confidence to know you’re moving in the right direction can really help your business grow, and makes the process of making critical decisions all the easier.

And then there’s achieving your objectives, whether that’s aligned with profits or your organisation’s purpose and impact. Business coaches will help you improve your bottom line or reach your impact goals.

What does the research say about the advantages of hiring a coach?

One of the questions that many organisational leaders may be wondering is ‘how effective is coaching?’. After all, it’s an investment that small businesses and not-for-profit organizations, in particular, may be wary of making. But there’s plenty of research to back up the benefits of hiring a coach. According to the Institute of Coaching, 70% of people who work with a coach enjoy an improved performance in their work, communication and relationships.

What’s more, surveys have found that 88% of respondents found their job satisfaction increased as a result of coaching. And one in six entrepreneurs use coaching as a method of improving their performance within their business. It’s a thriving industry that’s only getting bigger as more leaders and business owners realise the potential of using coaches to reach their goals faster and with greater success.

The World of Work Project View

Whether your goal is to bring in more revenue, make better use of your skills, find more fulfilment in work or overcome specific business challenges, such as employee retention, a business coach can help you build your business and move it in a positive direction.

Business coaching is an investment into the future of your career and your company, but it’s one that offers fantastic benefits and, in many cases, is a critical component in moving from where you are to where you really want to be.

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