My Philosophy of Coaching

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‘Coaching is creating Change with Clarity and Conviction’. (Mary Curran 2010)

‘Unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them’ (Whitmore, 2003).

I believe people are often stuck in the “Comfort Zone” – where the level of pain and pleasure is equal. The role of the coach is to facilitate the client in moving on, by asking powerful questions. By raising the level of pain or pleasure, we engage the emotions which will motivate the person to action. Once this emotional shift takes place, the client is ready to move on with conviction.

Within each unique individual lies incredible potential to do more, be more and have more. The answers are within themselves.

I also believe that humans can unlearn old behaviours’ and learn more adaptive ones. Through the process of coaching we enable the client to internalize the changes in their behaviours and attitudes and make a sustainable difference in their life.



In this essay, I will examine the relationship between coaching and supervision and will explore some interventions used in both (e.g. listening, reflecting and questioning). Drawing on my experience, as both a Coach and Supervisor, I will identify the challenges of distinguishing between them. I will explore and compare the needs of both, looking at concepts such as power, contracts, accountability, learning and relationships. My conclusion will be that there is a very close relationship between coaching and supervision, where we share some of the same interventions, competencies and Learning. One of the main differences between the two is that in coaching, the coach takes a non-judgmental position and therefore chooses to ask “What” and not “Why” whereas in supervision, at times the supervisor is required to ask “Why” and there is an element of judgment in relation to the work of the supervisee.

Having trained originally with Thomas Leonard, (regarded by many as the father of life coaching) I then qualified as a Life & Business Coach with the Coach Institute of Ireland. In 2001 I set up the Centre for Professional & Personal Development where I train people in life and business coaching.

Coaching is about “the gift of choice” and bringing this to the attention of the client. There are many different learning and helping roles. In Coaching, many of the tools and techniques come from Neuro Linguistic Programming, Emotional Intelligence, and Behavioural Psychology. Coaching is different from Supervision and Mentoring.

‘Supervision is a working alliance between two professionals where supervisees offer an account of their work, reflect on it, receive feedback, and receive guidance if appropriate. ‘The object of this alliance is to enable the worker to gain in ethical competency, confidence and creativity so as to give the best possible service to clients’ (Inskipp and Proctor, 2001).

I believe to be the best you can be in your work, the professional coach needs to be continuously learning through ongoing supervision

Mentoring is ‘like climbing the side of a mountain. While we are struggling up the steep bits we are breathless, challenged, single-minded, and in need of some support and sustenance. Technically there may be some moves that we can only make roped up to someone else. It is here that the mentoring process comes into its own. Coaching can help us move along the relatively level ground to the next big challenge. When we face a cliff we need help that will enable us to exercise new skills, new strategies, and new perspectives.’ (David Clutterbuck and David Megginson 1999)

Coaching and mentoring offer new perspectives to clients, however, in mentoring the Client is offered a solution from the expert. and empowering others to own and acknowledge that they do have a choice. This is particularly...
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