In the past few months coaching seems to have gained some prominence in Singapore especially since the government started talking about upgrading skills with more focus on soft skills. This is indeed good news for coaches although the focus appears to be more on executive coaching. However, in gaining on soft skills, life coaching would seem more appropriate.
In spite of the reports in the Straits Times on 20 March 2010 acknowledging the successes of coaching there remains the question of its effectiveness in creating awareness.
I, for one, am very grateful to the coachees who came forward to publicly acknowledge the good works of the coaches, giving testimonials of the tangible results they have gained from being coached. Hopefully this will help dispel the doubts of the uninitiated.
When talking of coaching, many would think of executive and sport coaching; the two more widely known coaching niches. However there are many other coaching areas and they are not limited to life coaching, workplace coaching, relationship coaching and career coaching, all of which have benefits of their own. Most coaching targets specifically at certain areas while life coaching is more of a catch-all, usually involving more deep rooted introspection.
In executive coaching, success is measured by the increased in strategy effectiveness, profitability, smoothness in organizational change, and such like. In career coaching, it is the ability in landing the dream job. In relationship coaching, it is selecting the right life partner or repairing a rocky relationship. All seems rather straight forward.
But how do you measure the success of a life coach? The success in this case is more subjective, while harder but nonetheless measurable. Depending on the goals set for the coaching programme, the basis for measurement would be different. If the goal set is to increase salary to a certain amount, then that is easily measured but if the goal is to become happier and more at peace, that would be very dependent on the coachee’s perception of improvement. Perhaps such uncertainty has driven many coaches from life coaching, preferring to go for other coaching niches that have more tangible and measurable results. Hence, life coaching is less known or speak of.
To achieve lasting personal transformation, life coaching is probably more applicable but it is also the hardness for people to accept and open up to. The nature of life coaching is so very personal that it may prove too much and uncomfortable for both the coach and the coachee. As such not all coaches can be or are good life coaches. It is therefore very important to get a life coach that “speaks” to you. For those who are ready for life coaching, they will find lots of unparalleled benefits absent from any other means.
Particularly in Asia, and I am generalizing here, people being more conservative are less open to sharing their views and feelings. Life coaching can sound very threatening to their personal and emotional safety, propped up by multi-layers of social masks developed over the years.
Whatever the type of coaching, the drivers for success are the commitment of the coachee, the willingness to remain open-minded, and not least of all the chemistry between the coach and the coachee. One important criterion is establishing clear goal measurements or expectations, without which it would be a disaster waiting to happen.
For some claiming benefits of coaching may still not have succeeded in their goals and they cannot understand why. This can easily happen if the goal setting is not clear and the course is not well aligned and charted.
Coaching success cannot be guaranteed just as there is no guarantee in life. However, as long as there is enough commitment to work on the goals, there will definitely be rewarding benefits one way or another. It would be a life-changing experience packed with inspiration. At the very least you would understand yourself much better and that would certainly help steer your future course whether you decide to continue with more coaching thereafter.