Mind The Gap
- Jan 27th 2020
A couple of years ago, an interviewer asked if I knew the difference between Counseling, Mentoring and Coaching. The first I was certified in and the second was what I was considering for assistance with my career. Where coaching was concerned, all I knew of was athletic or sports coaching and academic coaching. The interviewer then went on to explain – something that stayed with me till this day.
Leaders, he said, must be able to coach, mentor, counsel, train and/ or manage depending upon the individual and the situation. Understanding when to counsel, mentor or coach is extremely important and thus it is essential to know the difference.
Counseling seeks to explore the underlying dynamics of individuals and their relationships. It focuses on past experiences that might be the root cause arising from the way a person lives or feels.
Mentoring emphasizes both professional and personal development of the individual. A mentor could have some great answers for your questions while a coach has some great questions for your answers.
Coaching helps people move through transitions and supports them in achieving a specific personal or professional goal. The focus of a coach is to guide others by asking questions and structuring a process for an individual to achieve his/her goals.
He summarized saying that they are all ways of influencing others.
As a Human Resources professional, I was already in the profession of influencing others. I was curious to know if and how coaching could help me influence others better. I put my skills of information gathering to work right away. However, I doubted if I was cut out for coaching altogether – did I have what it took? did I have it in me? It was time to ‘mind the gap’.
In my quest for info., I met and interacted with qualified, practicing coaches and being a keen observer I found there were some notable qualities that they possessed. If like me you too are in a dilemma to become a coach, here are seven qualities that one should possess to take up coaching.
- Passion for Development:
Development is twofold – that of self and that of others. Self-development would involve a thirst for knowledge- to be familiar with the changes around you. The first thing you commit to in a coaching journey is transformation of self – you know the hardships first hand, you have tasted both failure and victory. If you are someone who likes to stay updated through research and getting familiar with new areas that may be encountered which in turn may help guide others, you should find out about how you can enter this life-changing field.
- Love Helping People:
This should come from within – truly finding great joy in contributing to helping others. If you are someone who doesn’t hesitate going that extra mile to help and also has a passion to help others reach their full potential coaching is definitely for you.
- “Go-To” Person:
If people always come to you with their problems, seek your advice, know that you are the only one who can help them out in a situation, it’s one of the best indications – you just may be cut out for coaching.
- Good with People:
This is an essential skill which would involve empathy – being kind and compassionate to other’s needs and problems. If you are someone who can listen attentively to all that is being said and talk to other people comfortably which puts them at ease, coaching may be a great way to apply this talent.
- Patience & Understanding:
It often takes a great deal of patience to listen to numerous people and a multitude of issues. If you are someone who has an incredible amount of patience and understanding, you should consider coaching.
- Active Listening:
Listening is a simple act but when you actively listen, you trust your intuition. You’ll hear the tones, silences and energy levels. It is being fully and completely present. It also involves paying attention to if the body language is in sync with words, listening to the volume, pitch, tone of voice and word choice. If you are someone who is attuned to these other means of communication, you must consider becoming a coach.
- Effective Communication
Being comfortable with communicating yourself, whatever be the medium and expressing accurately as you would be connecting with others for one on one conversations. If you are someone who is able to give clear and direct communication, at times feedback which does not confuse others coaching is for you.
I read somewhere, “Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it” so also with coaching. This quote by American author Ursula K. Le Guin prompted me to move in the direction of getting certified as coach which I believe will provide me with a tool kit and variety of ways to work on myself and with people beyond what’s on the surface.
When was the last time you did something that changed your life?
Rajat is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) with over 18 years of industry experience and over 2500 hours of coaching experience, helping people and organizations attain maximum effectiveness. His background includes working with CXOs, senior managers, managers and board of directors of small private companies to multi-billion dollar publicly traded organizations.