What is Coaching?
Coaching is the discipline that helps people improve their work lives. Although coaches can and do coach people around non-work subjects (becoming fit, say, or even going through a major transition like a divorce), work issues remain the core "material" for coaching.
Coaches use regular, confidential conversations to help the client focus on the work issues at hand -- along with some that may emerge in the course of the discussions. These conversations may be at the client's own behest, or may be a resource made available by his or her company. They may be on the phone, or take place in person. The discussion "space" is a safe one, and the regular schedule of conversations keeps the client accountable. The goal is change in the external world, and often that means a combination of outward steps (actions) and inward ones (shifts in perspective).
In coaching, the client is assumed to know the "answers" already, or be capable of figuring them out. So the process is not one where the coach tells the client what to do. Rather, the coach tries to interact with the client in such a way that the answers emerge.
For that to happen, the coach has to listen carefully and communicate constructively, and the client has to be honest and be willing to do the work. When both partners are operating this way, the process is deeply rewarding on both sides.
My clients have enriched my life in quite an extraordinary way, and I have done my best to enrich their lives as well.