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The candidates had a minimum of five years' coaching experience and a formal qualification in the field. These individuals were involved in a focus group that evaluated the competence executive coaching model. The procedure in this study first involved a literature study of available coaching and executive coaching models in an attempt to determine whether any competence models exist in the literature.

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The models were evaluated in terms of how clearly the competences, competencies and coaching process were described in each of the models. The models were also evaluated on the basis of the way in which the assessment criteria were described. This resulted in a better understanding of the most common, prominent and important competences and competencies in executive coaching models. It also involved identifying some of the shortcomings in the competence approach. With this theoretical knowledge as background, the first focus group was conducted.

Participants in the first focus group were asked the following question during a two-and-a-half-hour session: The participants were also asked to provide an indication of the assessment criteria. The following question was posed: The participants' contributions were captured on flip chart paper for all of them to see and review at the end of the focus group. The second focus group was conducted after the competence executive coaching model had been conceptualised and designed.

The participants were asked to evaluate the functionality and uniqueness of the model. The model was sent to the participants beforehand and they were afforded the opportunity to review it before the focus group. The following question was posed during the focus group: The data of the first focus group were analysed using competence or outcomes-based and content analysis methodology. The different tasks generated by the focus group participants were thematically grouped and analysed, and the central competence or outcome in each category identified.


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These broad categories or competences were integrated into a process model, which represents a logical and workable model for the training of executive coaches. Each of the competences in the model was rewritten in outcomes-based or competence format and the appropriate assessment criteria were identified from the data provided by the first focus group. This allowed the authors to construct a coaching model, which described the coaching process, the different competences and the assessment criteria with which trainers can determine the effectiveness of an executive coaching training programme and coaches can evaluate their own performance.

The data from the second focus group were thematically analysed. The comments of the participants were analysed in two parts. The comments on the functionality of the designed model were first analysed, and this was followed by an analysis of the comments on the uniqueness of the model. The findings of this study are discussed in the next section.

The findings are presented on the basis of competence executive coaching model that was developed and the findings of the focus group, which evaluated the model. The literature review revealed that coaching can be distinguished from other interventions such as mentoring, facilitation, consulting and counselling. The main difference in mentoring seems to relate to its technical nature which requires the mentor to have the technical skills and knowledge including technical subject matter to successfully assume the role of mentor.

In comparison, coaching focuses more on affording coachees or executives opportunities to develop their learning agility through specific action learning strategies in order to enhance their performance instead of only their skills at work. The differences in respect of facilitation were also clear.

Facilitation, which focuses on providing opportunities to clients to learn about the self, focuses more on self-actualisation processes and not as much on the performance of the coachees in their work role. The process is also less directive, given the humanistic nature of the intervention, and it may address personal development needs beyond the boundaries of the work role.

The difference between consulting and coaching can be described in terms of the roles that consultants and coaches assume during the intervention. While consultants offer solutions and advice, coaches seldom provide solutions and direct answers, but instead, afford coachees opportunities to explore the effectiveness with which they assume their roles in the organisation.

Coaches furthermore provide learning opportunities through a range of techniques, which allows the coachees to explore and learn independently. It is essential to understand these differences before any attempt can be made to develop a coaching model. This formed the basic boundaries of the model. Equally important was an analysis of the roles, services and profiles of coaches which enabled the researchers to design a model that would address the uniqueness of these roles, services and profiles. The analysis of the different roles of coaches allowed the researchers to gain a better understanding of the importance of an effective contracting phase in the model.


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During the contracting phase, coaches should be clear about the type of intervention that will be provided. Although some techniques of facilitation, consultation and counselling will be used during the intervention, the coaching intervention should still focus on the coachees' performance within the boundaries of role and organisation. Similarly, the analysis of the services provided valuable information on the different types of coaching services available.

Both coach and coachee should also agree on the type of coaching that will be provided and this should be included in the formal contract. The theoretical analysis of the profiles of coaches, which included their skills, competencies and qualities, revealed a number of significant factors to be considered in designing a coaching model.

Regarding the knowledge and skills of coaches, the importance of assessment knowledge and skills was described in a number of resources. This suggested the importance of an assessment phase in the coaching model, which allows both the coach and coachee to gain a detailed understanding of the coachee's levels of performance before and after the intervention.

The findings of the theoretical analysis of the competencies of coaches revealed the need for a thorough understanding of psychological processes and dynamics during coaching sessions. Not only will the coach have to explore underlying psychological processes and dynamics during the coaching sessions, but he or she will also have to address these whenever the coachee receives direct feedback on his or her performance from others. This is especially important during the public dialogue interventions in coaching. An analysis of the different coaching models suggested that some models aim at describing the process of coaching while others describe the procedures in a specific coaching session.

This focused the research even further and suggested that the authors needed to concentrate on an intervention model, a coaching session model or both. In the end, the authors decided to design an intervention model which describes the phases of a complete coaching intervention. None of the models which were reviewed was presented in a competence format and although most models present the tasks in one form or another, none could be found that provided the assessment criteria relating to each competence or outcome.

The findings of the first focus group can be summarised as follows: The group as a whole agreed on the fact that contracting was a key outcome in the intervention, but disagreed on whether this is a process or only a written document. While some participants described the content of what should be included in a written coaching contract, others were more focused on the psychological contracting process between the coach and coachee.

Determining an effective working relationship between the coach and coachee was of paramount importance to some of the participants. These participants therefore focused more on the competence which is commonly referred to as chemistry meetings between the coach and coachee to determine the possibility of an effective coaching relationship. Ultimately, a combination of the mechanics and dynamics of this process was included in the model.

The participants were also in agreement about some form of assessment being part of the model. While some participants felt that a formal assessment using competency and psychometric assessments was necessary, a small percentage of them felt that a qualitative assessment in the form of, say, a role analysis could be equally valuable in the assessment of coachees. The point was made that not all underperformance stems from a lack of competence, but that system dynamics could play a significant role in underperformance.

In order to explore these and the dynamics operating in the team, qualitative assessments should be considered. This led the authors to believe that the context would play a vital role in the selection of assessment tools. The model therefore includes an assessment and reassessment phase, but does not prescribe the nature of assessment tools to be used.

All the participants identified the need to provide feedback to the coachee as an important competence in the coaching process. Not only does this present the first opportunity to provide meaningful insights to the coachee, but it also forms the basis of any development that follows. The participants also identified the design or development of a development plan as a vital part of the process. The participants grouped a number of tasks under this competence and suggested that the assessment criteria should include reaching agreement on the development plan between the coach and coachee.

The participants felt strongly about the fact that the coach should not force his or her development agenda on the coachee. This competence is described as compiling an executive coaching development plan in the final model. While most participants agreed on the importance of others providing feedback to the coachee on his or her performance as part of the coaching intervention, the group was divided on the form in which the feedback should be given. This process is referred to as the public dialogue phase in the model. The participants did agree that if this intervention forms part of the model, the individuals providing the feedback should be properly trained and the feedback should be confined to feedback sessions only.

The participants concurred that the role-out phase does not only involve conducting the individual coaching sessions, but that the action learning interventions and monitoring of progress should also form part of an implementation phase. The assessment criteria in the implementation phase therefore addresses a number of different areas which will indicate competence in this phase.

The lack of evaluation methodology for the evaluation of coaching interventions left the participants with some unanswered questions. Although all of the participants agreed that some form of evaluation was important, the question arose about the appropriate time for this evaluation. The authors addressed this in the model by suggesting monitoring and evaluation during each of the phases in the model and not only at the end of the intervention.

Figure 1 is a graphic representation of the competence executive coaching model. Each competence in this process model is described after the figure. This competence forms the basis of a successful coaching intervention and involves contracting with the business, the relevant parties who will be involved in the intervention and the candidate. Most coaches would agree that it is crucial to understand the context of any business before conducting coaching interventions in it.

As part of this analysis, the coach would attempt to understand what the strategy and goals of the organisation are and what type of leadership competencies the business would want to develop in order to achieve these goals more successfully. In the absence of a leadership profile, the coach can consider developing one for the business.

This competence also involves engaging executives and decision makers on the expected outcomes of the intervention. It is advisable to obtain their support and cooperation in the coaching process because this ensures a valuable feedback mechanism for evaluating the success of the intervention. With this as background, the coach can start engaging the coachee and determine the possibility of effective working relationships. The 'chemistry' meetings afford coaches and coachees the opportunity to determine whether they can work together and form a meaningful working relationship. Gender, age, race and experience seem to play a key role in the success of coaching relationships.

Initial interactions with the coachee should focus among other things on determining the appropriateness of a coaching intervention. Coaching is normally used for managers and executives with basic managerial and leadership skills. If it is clear from the first meeting that the coachee does not even have basic leadership competencies, alternative interventions, including formal training, may initially be considered. Similarly, coaches need to determine if the underperformance is the result of a lack of competence or possibly the result of systems dynamics - which in the work context, involves work dysfunctions or even more serious psychopathology.

This specific model provides for public dialogue, which involves a structured feedback process during which selected peers provide the executive or leader with feedback on his or her competencies and progress. These parties need to be selected and oriented and their roles and responsibilities in the intervention explained.

Once these basic dimensions of the contract psychological and physical have been negotiated, a formal contract is developed. These contracts can run over six or 12 months with monthly coaching sessions of one-and-a-half to three hours. The formal contract normally describes the roles of the coach, coachees and other relevant parties, the expected outcomes, milestones, time boundaries, assessment methodologies to be used and method of payment. Each competence in the model includes an evaluation component at the end.

At the end of the first phase the coach takes responsibility for presenting the outcomes of the phase to the relevant parties and obtaining final approval and feedback before starting the next phase. Evaluation questions that need to be asked include the following: Will this intervention and contract reach the expected outcomes?

Are the planned intervention and contract in line with the expectations of both the organisation and the coachee? The feedback from relevant parties on the evaluation process is integrated in the contract and final agreement is reached. A second contract can be negotiated at the end of the intervention and a similar process will be involved in recontracting. The assessment criteria in this competence, regarding the contracting and recontracting process, can be summarised as follows: In the absence of a competency framework, the coach has to develop an executive competency framework which guides the assessment.

Appropriate tools are selected on the basis of the framework and an integrated report generated on the basis of the results. These assessments, per se, provide coachees with valuable feedback on their competencies as well as the differences between their self-perceptions and the perceptions of others. An array of other psychometric and leadership assessment tools can be used in order to gain an overall view of the coachees' competencies. Expected levels of performance can be benchmarked against other coachees or employees of the same organisation or organisations in the same industry.

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Presenting the results and analysing discrepancies between current and expected levels of performance are viewed as an intervention in itself. This is done at the beginning of the next phase. Assessments are also conducted at the end of a coaching cycle to determine the effect of the intervention on the behaviour of the coachee. The coach, however, needs to evaluate the success of this phase before proceeding to the next phase. Evaluation questions that need to be answered include the following: Was this a valid and reliable assessment? What do the relevant parties think of the assessment results?

Have all the competencies been assessed successfully? If not, what additional assessment may be needed? Did the assessment uncover development needs that were different from those previously expected? In short, the assessment criteria of conducting an executive competency assessment and reassessment phase involve the following: The development plan competence consists of two components. Firstly, the feedback of the assessment is presented to the coachee and a discovery and internalisation process is facilitated. This is done in a specific structured way in an attempt not to overwhelm the coachee.

The second part of this competence consists of constructing a development plan for the coachee. Various actions and learning strategies are used to address the development areas. The development plan can also include shorter formal training or development courses, reading, journaling, presentations and, of course, the formal coaching sessions with the coach. This development plan should be presented to the relevant parties in the organisation in order to evaluate the appropriateness thereof.

Is this development plan in line with the organisational context, leadership profile of the business and the expected outcomes to be achieved in this coaching intervention?

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Does this development plan address the important development areas in the coachee's profile? The competence, regarding the compilation of an executive coaching development plan, has the following assessment criteria: The relevant parties involved in the public dialogue competence refer to peers who have been trained in giving feedback on the coachee's progress during structured public dialogue sessions.

These parties, who have been trained in the contracting phase of the intervention, provide valuable information on the coachee's behaviour in the work context. Public dialogue sessions are conducted quarterly during one of the coaching sessions and two or three participants give feedback to the coachee on what they have observed in the work context.

The coach facilitates this dialogue session and the learning is processed, noted and included in future interventions. Although this may be a somewhat anxiety-provoking experience for a coachee, the coach should contain the situation and ensure that maximum benefit is gained from the interaction. Effective training of the relevant parties in this dialogue is critical.

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Feedback from these parties may lead to additional development interventions being added or modifications being made to the development plan. This is done after conducting the evaluation process at the end of dialogue session. These competence and assessment criteria, to plan and conduct public dialogue sessions can be summarised as follows: Finally, once all these phases have been successfully completed, the intervention can be implemented. This involves exposing the coachee to all the action learning interventions, and conducting the coaching and public dialogue sessions.

The progress of the coachee is constantly monitored and corrective actions taken where necessary. A complete assessment will be conducted at the end of the cycle to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. The implementation competence and assessment criteria to implement the executive coaching development plan can be summarised as follows: The findings of the second focus group revealed the following: These competences or outcomes together with the assessment criteria can be used successfully in the training of prospective coaches.

The group agreed on the importance of an effective contracting phase. They believe that contracting with the relevant parties is a crucial part of this phase, especially if the coachee was contracted by a contracting organisation. How would you overcome crisis and succeed? Only a small few women have risen to the top of major college athletics—a hidden realm and fascinating business.

Yet, the similarities, commonalities, and analogies that sports have to offer the business world are endless. Most readers will relate to sports either as an athlete or as a fan, and can find ways to apply those same principles and lessons to their own professional lives. It also includes illustrations that depict the five-part playing court with definitions of each part and how they apply to leadership.