Coaching should be part of every development program regardless of business or industry. Waiting until there is a problem is not the best option to improve interpersonal and leadership skills. Coaching increases self-awareness, which is an essential component of being mindfully attentive. It also increases your communication skills, emotional intelligence as you engage peers, but most importantly, coaching helps build meaningful relationships.
The practice of coaching has a perceived value of increasing leadership skills, including the development of greater empathy, self-awareness, and habits of self-care. Research suggests coaching provides intellectual stimulation triggering the development of empathy.
What is coaching?
As a broad definition, coaching is a form of learning that is individualized, centered on the person, and applies mutually agreed upon goals between the coach and individual. The purpose of coaching is to produce a set of desired outcomes that ensures accountability.
Coaching versus Mentoring
Mentors are successful role models who not only serve as educators but also expert leaders in their field. For mentors, it is essential to spend time cultivating their relationship with the mentee. This effort includes helping the mentee set goals, educating them on specific skills, and helping them progress in their career. These sessions often take shape through the interaction of sharing of personal experience, providing feedback and insights before the mentor provides sponsorship and other networking opportunities.
The best of mentors will also provide coaching; however, often, the mentor is too busy to assume this additional role. In contrast to mentoring, coaches do not share their personal experiences or provide advice on workplace culture and politics. For the coach, the focus is on the individual. Coaches use deep listening and engaging questions that draw on the individual’s self-awareness for change and growth.
Coaching provides the leader with the best opportunity for identifying strengths while taking the time to develop other areas such as influencing, interpersonal communication, and resiliency. Often being able to coach an individual provides an opportunity for on-demand engagement. Coaching also allows for reinforcing skills that were learned through development programs by applying that acquired knowledge into action.
Coaching with Compassion
To be an effective coach, work on being mindfully attentive. Being a coach particularly emphasizes the need to be present, aware of others and your environment, and a keen focus on being compassionate. Coaching is highly beneficial not only for the person but also for the person who is coaching. The connection between the two improves overall engagement and team building.
Taking part in the coaching process will give way towards uncovering your blind spots while becoming more open-minded, self-aware, and compassionate.