Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft): Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter either they are a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. We need people who give us feedback that’s how we improve.

Eric Schmidt (former CEO of Google): One of the best pieces of advice I got was to have a coach. One of our board members in 2002 said, “You need a coach” and I said “Well, I am a coach. Why would I need a coach? Is something wrong?” He said, “No, you need a coach; everybody needs a coach.” So, Bill Campbell became my coach and it served Google very well. Every famous athlete, every famous performer, has somebody as a coach; somebody who could watch what they’re doing and say: Is that what you really meant? Did you really do that? somebody who can give them perspective. One thing people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really helps.

Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, and so many successful people like Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey and many other world-famous entrepreneurs have talked about coaching and told us how coaches have changed their lives for the better. In this article, I’m going to talk about what coaching really is. Also, I’m going to tell you the good characteristics of a good professional coach, and finally I’m going to share with you some statistics about how coaching has helped individuals and organizations worldwide.

So first of all, let’s talk about the definition of coaching. I’m going to use the definition of ICF (International Coach Federation) in this regard. ICF is arguably the highest body of reference for professional coaches worldwide. ICF says, “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Think about it. Coaching is not a one-way street, but a two-way street of communicative process that involves trust, partnership, and creativity, changing thought patterns and moving forward. Also, let me give you another definition of coaching by the coaching school where I got trained as a professional coach (iPEC). iPEC has a proprietary unique coaching methodology called the core energy coaching process and they say, “this process helps people tap into their inner purpose and passion and connect that with outer goals and tasks to bring about extraordinary and sustainable results”. So, we could say that through coaching, the coach helps the client remove their mental blocks and raise their consciousness level to the point that they can see so many more options and can get creative enough to come up with solutions and creative ways to move towards their goals.

Second, what are the characteristics of a good professional coach? Here, I’m going to share with you some very common (but really important) characteristics of a coach, as outlined by ICF. A good professional coach is non-judgmental and by that, I mean that the coach doesn’t judge the client as right or wrong; as good or bad. They are just there to help the client come up with their agenda, focus on their goals, and solve their problems. So, by being non-judgmental the coach creates a safe secure environment for the client to become more creative and get past their barriers to success. Another characteristic of a good professional coach is that they ask thought-provoking questions. Questions that the client most probably hasn’t thought of before. Thought-provoking questions that makes the client think of their situation, their goals, and their problems in ways that they haven’t considered before. Another characteristic of a good professional coach is that they are really good listeners. They listen objectively. They don’t impose their agenda, their experience, and their thoughts on the clients. They try to see the world through the eyes of the client. I’m saying this because so many times we talk to our parents or good friends about our problems or goals but (although they’re good-willed) when they talk to us, they think about their experiences, their life stories and they look at the situation through their filters and the lens of their eyes. So that’s the difference between a good professional coach who listens objectively and other people who might not listen at all or might listen to us subjectively. Another characteristic of a good professional coach is that they don’t spend a lot of time in the client’s past. They might visit the client’s past to get rid of some negative energy, but they are future- and solution-oriented and they want to help the clients come up with action steps to move towards their goals and solve their problems. Another characteristic of a good professional coach is that they really pay attention to the thought patterns of the client. So, by asking good questions and by using other techniques, they help the clients change their thoughts which then helps them change their emotions and feelings and eventually changes their actions and results.

To conclude, I’m going to share with you some statistics that might be of interest to you as to how coaching has helped clients (individuals, organizations or businesses worldwide). In a study that ICF did in 2016, and the results of that study are available on the ICF website, you can see that almost 71% of clients reported that they have seen boosts in productivity and overall better results in their personal and professional lives after they’ve worked with a coach. Almost 80% of them have reported higher self-confidence. Therefore, coaching in general helps the clients get better in all the different areas of their lives: their relationships, their communication, their business, their careers and their personal growth, confidence, productivity and performance

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