Dec 3, 2018
The English term ‘coach’ is derived from a medium of transport that traces its origins to the Hungarian word ‘kocsi’ meaning ‘carriage,’ named after the village where carriages were first made. The first use of the term ‘coaching’ to mean an instructor or trainer arose around 1830 in Oxford University slang for a tutor who ‘carries’ a student through an exam. Coaching has therefore been used in language to describe the process used to transport people from where they are, to where they want to be.
The first use of the term in relation to sports we believe came in 1861. The facilitative approach to coaching in sport was pioneered by Timothy Gallwey; before this, sports coaching was (and often remains) solely a skills-based learning experience from a master in the sport. Other contexts for coaching include executive coaching, life coaching, emotional intelligence coaching and wealth coaching.
At JMJ, we believe that coaching is “the art of facilitating the growth, learning and development of another”—a definition developed by Myles Downey and the School of Coaching.
There are many other definitions around. For example, the International Coach Federation (ICF) states that coaching is about “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” The European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), states that coaching is “a development activity within relationships based on trust and established through conversations.” The focus is on the individual or the team and the resources and solutions they generate for their specific personal or professional context.
A corporate view
The complexity of our world often means that not only are solutions to problems less obvious, the problems and goals themselves may be intricate and difficult to define. Corporations in the 21st century require greater collaboration and relationships can often be difficult to navigate—particularly when stakeholders and teams can span the globe.
A sense of urgency inside of this challenge can stifle workers and restrict thinking, ultimately leaving workers disempowered and asking for direction. Unfortunately, though, there is little time dedicated to creating ease, appreciation and the humanization of the work place.
JMJ suggested that perhaps there was a bigger opportunity here. Rather than just reinforcing the rules, what might provide a better overall outcome?
This is why coaching is so important.
The space created by a coaching session permits people to come back to themselves. Coaching can provide time for reflection, space to think and a thinking partner that really listens at a deep level. It can create a clearing for negative or critical judgements and provide pivotal time for people to connect with their passion and creativity. Coaching provides time for a person to think for themselves, create their own meaningful goals, test assumptions, overcome problems and plan actions to mobilise their effort.
For the organisation, coaching can create relationships between stakeholders and teams, create alignment and synergy of goals, and foster an environment of understanding. Most of all, coaching brings about conversation and a shared thinking and listening space—a space where people are appreciated and encouraged while celebrating diversity. It enables an organisation to harness their collective wisdom while achieving goals that were previously perceived as impossible.
In other words, bringing everyone from where they are to where they want to be.