“Act always so as to increase the number of choices”, Heinz von Foerster pointed out. As a method of helping a person to achieve specific goals in this person´s professional life, coaching is an ideal means to enrich your choices.
A personal coach helps clients to definegoals and concrete action plans to achieve them. Coaching provides a place for consistently monitoring the client´s progress and an opportunity to inspect and adapt their strategies.
In order to foster concrete improvement, learning and innovation, coaching is
- one-on-one - as opposed to group dynamics or team consulting;
- face-to-face - mostly co-located, sometimes virtual, e.g. a video conference;
- eye-to-eye - as opposed to a “knowing teacher-unknowing pupil” set-up;
- confidential - as opposed to a contract which has to be completed by a management report;
- tailored - as opposed to standardized by a method;
- solution-oriented - as opposed to sticking in problem talk and analysis-paralysis;
- flexible in its combination of asking, listening, providing feedback, and risking concrete advice;
- contextual in terms of recognizing the current environment, the bigger picture of the client´s personal life, work situation and organizational set up;
- result-driven in the sense of co-creating a variety of opportunities, selecting concrete action points, and monitoring its implementation - as opposed.to expert-driven consultancy.
To work with a coach doesn´t indicate that something is wrong with you. On the contrary, it is, as Kathleen Sutcliff & Karl Weick put it, “a sign of strength and confidence to know when you´ve reached the limits of your knowledge and know enough to enlist outside help.”
In other words: to find yourself a personal coach means acknowledging the benefit of professional help. It means asking for support, finding a sparring partner and saying goodbye to the old-fashioned style of “heroic management”. Combining consulting experience and business know how your personal coach is as much a “sounding board” as a “motivator”, who really listens to you and provides both honest feedback and concrete advice.