What is professional coaching?

by | 22 July 2021 | Coaching

Personal reflection on the coaching profession today and as I see it in my practice.

The coaching profession, today, is above all a human relationship that rests on solid foundations:

  • the establishment of a framework in the respect of an ethical charter,
  • the development of a relationship of shared trust,
  • effective communication, and
  • the ability to empower through action.

But what seems important to me to raise today, when one evokes the profession of coach, are the potential drifts in the exercise of this profession, which come to influence the legitimacy of this profession.

Indeed, it is for me a profession which struggles to find legitimacy and yet which has its place in the professional and personal sphere. Professional coaching is a structured profession that requires skill and regular questioning on the part of the coach. However, there are many abuses. The biggest risk that I see today concerns the manipulation of the client, which can have perverse effects. Every day we see new coaching offers of all kinds multiplying, responding to needs that are all the more diverse and ephemeral. The coaching profession is facing a contextual pollution and it is important to be attentive to this environment. The posture of the professional coach through the respect of an ethical charter is all the more important as it is necessary for the integrity of this profession.

Ethical Framework
Although today we are more than ever confronted with numerous abuses of language as for the use of the term “coach”, the profession practiced by the professional coach such as I conceive it does not remain any less very framed and respects a deontological code, key of the success in the search for autonomy and empowerment of the customer. It is essential for me to apply the following values: integrity, collaboration, confidentiality and respect.

Safe Space
The coach does not pass judgment. It is his duty to protect his client and to reassure him about the coaching process he is entering. The client must feel free to express himself. And conversely, the client must be able to refuse to answer if he/she feels uneasy. At the same time, the coaching process can only work if this respect and trust is reciprocal. The coach must feel free to exercise his function within the framework previously accepted by the client. This notion of protection is essential to the good conduct of the coaching. Indeed, it is essential to feel safe to enter into a collaborative relationship.
The particularity of this profession rests essentially on the coach’s ability to co-create a collaborative relationship with his client, based on a climate of trust and a mutual commitment.

Selected Communication 
All the work of the coach is based on a thoughtful and methodical communication, through active listening and chosen questioning techniques. The questions chosen by the coach are a real added value to the coaching process, as they allow the coach to understand what the client is really looking for, but also and above all allow the client to clarify his current situation and the actions he could implement.

Client Empowerment
The coach also has a role of facilitator with his client. He will encourage his client to identify solutions on his own and lead him to set up an appropriate action plan. It is essential that the coach respects the intelligence of his client and must be convinced that the client has the answers within himself. His role is to accompany him in the realization and research of solutions adapted to his problematic. The client also remains responsible for the execution of the chosen actions.

The professional coach thus helps his client to find his own compass and accompanies him in his approach while the client learns to use it by himself. The coach’s role is not to provide advice and even less to provide solutions. Autonomy and empowerment are at the heart of the profession.

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