There are at least 12 good definitions for coaching. The most interesting, we believe, is the original use of the word coach – a vehicle that gets you from one point to another.

Blending all these definitions, coaching is essentially the provision of a supportive partnership, using a developmental process that enables people to achieve the outcomes they set for themselves.

Some of the concepts and features of coaching include:

  • Awareness – insight into your own behaviour, how it occurs and what impact it has. This may include noticing and observing your language and how it’s constructed, exploring your emotions and prevalent moods, and enhancing your perception of your bodily sensations.
  • Freedom of expression – a great partnership means that both the coach and coachee are able to speak their truth. Courageous conversations and intimate dialogue on personal challenges makes for transformative change.
  • Practices – insights gained during coaching sessions are ‘kept alive’ by the coachee in an experiential way, in real life scenarios. Through specific observations and by tweaking their ways accordingly, at the coal face of ‘real life’, coachees get to develop new, more effective or meaningful ways of being in the world. 
  • Goal setting – inspiring, realistic and specific goals are crucial to the process. And these goals are mostly developmental. That is, they are about learning new personal capacities, not about ticking boxes and achieving tangible outcomes without personal growth.
  • Assistance in designing a transformational programme for long term sustainable change that is aligned with who you’re becoming.
  • Balance – between the various social, economic and spiritual demands of life.
  • Personal empowerment – the development of clarity, meaning, alignment, ease, integration, maturity and a sense of fulfilment.
  • Results – measurable outcomes are inherent in coaching. This does not exclude the experiential and subjective measures of success.

According to James Flaherty, founder of New Ventures West, a coach training and consulting company, the lasting products of coaching are, in essence:

  • Long-term excellence – Clients meet and sustain high objective standards agreed upon during coaching.
  • Self-correction – effective coaching empowers the client to independently observe and modify behaviour in accordance with the competencies required, thus creating autonomous growth.
  • Self-generation – constructive coaching creates and establishes the enduring ability to learn, unlearn and re-learn.

Many coaches combine an eclectic array of the above aspects into some semblance of coaching. When selecting a coach, it’s advisable to ensure that there is some golden thread – a methodology that is aligned with who you are and who the coach is. That is, are they consistently authentic and walking their talk, and does this resonate with you?

There are many great trainers, teachers, speakers, facilitators or experienced business people in the world, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are effective coaches. A good coach has a number of professional credentials as well as important personal traits that are practiced in a way that specifically serves your growth.

For the purposes of selecting a professional coach, check that the coach you choose meets most of the following criteria:

  • Coaching qualifications relevant to your needs
  • An appropriate level of coaching experience relevant to your needs
  • Membership of professional bodies
  • References of previous clients and coaching success stories
  • A structured approach and a wide range of tools and techniques
  • Ongoing learning whereby the coach is engaged in continued professional development
  • The coach has access to their own supervision. 

Personally, check for the following in selecting a coach – the first two are especially important:

  • Relationship building – it’s imperative that you trust, respect and have rapport with your coach.
  • Self-awareness and self-knowledge – ensure the coach has done their own developmental work and you can sense it.
  • Listening skills – active listing includes empathy, presence and questioning skills. You’ll feel it when they have it.
  • The ability to challenge – safe, yet courageous feedback is a powerful coaching instrument.
  • The ability to facilitate significant and ultimately self-generating insight.

Some Enneagram Business FAQs

(Extracted from http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/)

The Enneagram is pervasive amongst coaches today. While it’s a great way to gain insight and start a coaching conversation, it’s also important that your coach is skilful with the tool. The aim should be to support you in exploring the challenges and patterns that you identify and want to shift. Typing yourself is only the beginning of this process. And typing tools are only as good as the emergent coaching conversations and partnerships. With these in place exploring your Enneagram can be transformative. 

The Enneagram makes explicit the fact that people are different, and different personality types need to be managed differently. The idea of “personality type” must be taken into consideration in every area of the workplace if organizations are to be as effective and productive as they could be. The Enneagram helps everyone understand that there are nine different points of view, nine distinct sets of values, nine different communication styles and nine ways of solving problems and so forth, and that are all equally useful and valid. All of the types have something necessary to contribute to a thriving, balanced work environment.

The MBTI is a useful tool for indicating a person’s mental preferences: it addresses how a person is likely to approach a problem. And this is especially empowering in a team context. While this is useful, the Enneagram goes beyond this to provide invaluable information on core motivations. The Enneagram addresses not only how each type approaches problems, but why they take a particular approach. It also makes clear what drives each type of person, how each type goes after different goals, how each type reacts to stress and conflict, and how best to communicate with each type. The Enneagram also helps managers recognize when each type is  or when they are becoming more high-functioning. In short, the Enneagram is a more complete and in-depth approach to human development than any other system dealing with personality styles or types and their inherent challenges. 

The Enneagram is a dynamic, development tool. It can be used in any personal, leadership, team or organisational setting to build awareness, understanding, maturity, alignment, meaning, influence or to enhance communication. Moreover, it may contribute to the retention of valuable employees by increasing personal job satisfaction and productivity. It’s often used for executive coaching to help people work at the highest level of their capacities. The Enneagram is particularly valuable for team building, team development, conflict resolution, negotiation, and leadership development.

Globally, the following organizations have used the Enneagram: Adobe, Amoco, AT&T, Avon Products, Boeing Corporation, The DuPont Company, e-Bay, Prudential Insurance (Japan), General Mills Corporation, General Motors, Alitalia Airlines, KLM Airlines, The Coalition of 100 Black Women, General Mills, Kodak, Hewlett Packard, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, International Weight Watchers, Reebok Health Clubs, Motorola, Prudential Insurance, Sony, American Press Institute, Coca Cola (Mexico), Young & Rubicam, Aventis, and Conoco-Philips.