Business Coaching is often a logical progression for professional people mid way through their career.
The business coaching process has to start with an assessment of the business’ or individual’s current challenges and potential and looks at the priorities for action and looking for desired outcomes. This provides the business coach with information on how to create coaching goals and strategies to support the client and a method to evaluate their progress.
In later sessions, the coach will provide other resources to supplement the coaching process, such as
- management models
Business coaching derives much of its methodology from management, behavioural sciences and psychology. Firstly we’ll look at some of the underlying models of business coaching.
Cognitive behaviour therapy is one approach where the client is first helped to identify which behaviours are resulting in, or maintaining their problems or lacks, then to identify behavioural strategies for addressing those behaviours. The focus is on self-motivated behaviour change. To work, it requires that the client understands where their own behaviours have been harmful or a hindrance to their wellbeing or progress.
Our beliefs and attitudes about situations in life are often our biggest obstacle in obtaining emotional stability and making productive life choices. Coaching focuses on increasing a client’s awareness of the attitudes and beliefs that limit them. The cognitive behavioural approach is the preferred method of many coaches. The cognitive behavioural approach looks at the client’s current behaviour and asks them to consider:
How is my current attitude or belief working counter-productively for me?
How might changing this be of benefit to me?
The cognitive-behavioural approach focuses on difficulties which are present right now, and depends upon the client and the therapist developing a common view on the individual’s problem. Then the life coach develops strategies to help the client. These strategies are continuously monitored and re evaluated.
The approach can be used to help anyone irrespective of cultural, gender and abilities.
So how can this approach help when related to business? There are a number of ways, consider these examples –
- A business man who thinks he can’t succeed with his new business because his previous business failed.
- A business woman who won’t try new areas in her business because she is worried they won’t work.
- A business man who is always talking himself down in front of others.
- A business woman who thinks she can’t cope with her work life balance.
All of these examples could be helped to think in a more positive way about what they hope to achieve.
A goal-centred approach focuses on identifying and clarifying the client’s goals, prioritising them, and then devising strategies for achieving them. This includes breaking larger goals into smaller ones, which are more easily achieved and then monitoring results. The focus is on establishment of clear, realistic goals. Then the coach will support the client to achieve some or all of the goals. To work, this approach requires the client’s full commitment to achieving the priorities, and his/her understanding of the realities within which the goals must be achieved, such as the person’s skills etc.
A goal centred approach works well for individuals who get discouraged by imagining their ultimate aim to be too big to achieve, which then leads to them giving up. For such individuals a goal centred approach will be more productive.
This approach can be very effective for business coaching in encourage clients to set goals and consider ways to achieve them.
Another variation of this is a reality-based approach, which focuses on identifying the client’s current reality (what their situation really is, and what they really are and do), and comparing it to the client’s desired reality (what they want their situation to be and who they really want to be). Then, the client is helped to identify strengths and potentials within the current reality that can be developed to move towards a realistic desired reality. The focus is on understanding and accepting what is as a starting point for future action. To work, this approach requires that the client let go of illusions, take a realistic perspective and become fully involved in the present as a basis for movement into the future.
A motivational approach focuses in boosting the person’s self-esteem, overcoming self-doubt and fear of failure. Here, the client’s emotions and attitudes are the key factors, and the achievement of goals is a means to change negative attitudes into positive attitudes. To work, this approach requires the client’s willingness to let go of self-defeating attitudes.
Note that none of these approaches involves psychotherapy, attempting to deal with a client’s existing emotional issues or past issues, which require much deeper counselling and psychological skills. You would refer a client to a counsellor or a psychologist for these.
As we said previously, a client may come to a business coach for support to change how their business works or for how they as an individual work, so the best method, will depend on what they are hoping to achieve. A business coach will often use a range of methods when working with a client.
Coaching follows a particular process through which the coach will work with their client.