What is Coaching all About?
What readily comes to most people's minds when they they first think of a coach is often someone affiliated with sports or personal training. However, although coaching emerged from the domain of sports and fitness in the 1960's, its since grown to apply to those that assist people in their training and both personal and professional development. Today, you can find coaches that focus on nearly every domain of their personal and professional lives ranging from executive coaching, business coaching, career coaching, relationship coaching, stress coaching, (yes) sports and fitness coaching, and much more. Generally speaking, coaches dedicate their focus to things that they've dedicated a great deal of time and energy learning about and acquiring a great deal of experiential knowledge about. They may additionally have certification or dedicated education that provides them with advanced knowledge pertaining to their specialty. For example, Dr. Aaron Halliday has a doctorated degree in industrial and organizational psychology and this education provides him with a wide range of business knowledge and knowledge about people - their thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and what helps or hinders their success in both work and non-work contexts. This training has given him a wide breadth of expert-level evidence-based knowledge about human performance, goal setting, leadership, work, success, burnout, relational dynamics, entrepreneurship, adversity, resilience, and physical and mental wellness among many other things. Although you don't need credentials as extensive as an advanced degree to be a coach it certainly doesn't hurt.
Generally speaking, coaching is an active partnership that strives to unlock a person's maximum potential and help them learn and grow. The partnership is not one of teacher and student where the coach teaches the coachee everything that they need to know, but rather reflects a dynamic where the coach helps the coachee to learn for themselves. It's better to teach a man to fish than it is to simply give them fish for a day after all. Under ideal circumstances, the coach uses their talent to set the coachee up for successful learning and development. For example, if you're struggling to achieve things in your life, an effective coach may refer to the wide range of research showcasing how to set goals and tailor your life to elicit optimal goal attainment, they may guide you to apply this information in your daily life, and they may nudge or remind you along the way to keep you on track to success. Just as with more traditional fitness coaching, the coach can offer guidance and knowledge, but if the coachee decides not to practice, engage with the training, or commit themselves to daily exercise and nutrition goals it's unlikely they're going to see much progress.
Effective coaching involves a collaborative, solution-focused, results-oriented process that enhances work performance, life experience, self-directed learning, and personal or professional growth of the coachee. It involves a partnership between the coachee an individual coach or a coaching team that supports the coachee in their journey toward achievement, goal attainment, and specific meaningful objectives. Coaches often use dialogue, assessments, tools, techniques, exercises, reflection and self-discovery to help people to learn, move through their challenges, and thrive as they grow.
Coaches assist people best by making people's growth faster, safer, and more effective in the long-run.
Life can be hard, but you don't have to go at it alone. Whether it be for personal or professional development, coaching is a learning and development intervention that uses a collaborative, reflective, goal-focused relationship to achieve targeted outcomes that are valued by the coachee. Face-to-face coaching involves the coach and coachee meeting in-person to collaborate, reflect, strategize, discuss, and otherwise work through challenges and pursue goals set by the coachee. Due to being in-person it comes at a greater cost of time, money, and other resources but there may be additional benefits to be had depending on you as an individual and your specific needs.
In-person coaching may work for some goals better than others, but generally speaking the research shows that coaching is similarly effective regardless of it taking place in-person or in a remote context. Research generally shows that there are a host of other, more important factors to consider other than whether your coaching is taking place in-person or in a remote context. For example, it is much more important that you choose a coach that has the requisite knowledge, skills, and other abilities that will help faclitate you to achieve your goals.
In person coaching may be a better fit for you if you feel it's worth the additional time, money, and other resources that commuting to an in-person destination may incur. If you feel that you connect better with your coach and believe that your sessions are more effective when they take place in-person then it may be that you have a personal preference that's better fit for in-person coaching. Additionally, if you and your coach agree that in-person coaching would be more effective for targeting your particular challenges it may be that the situation or context is better suited to in-person coaching. However, this shouldn't be assumed to mean that in-person coaching is in any way better than remote coaching. It's really more about what's best for you and your needs as an individual.
Remote Coaching Also Known as Tele-Coaching or Online Coaching
Remote-coaching, also known as tele-coaching or online coaching has existed for many years. However, the COVID pandemic had a monumental impact on how people learn & interact with one another. As a result, as with Zoom conferencing for both work and school, in recent years coaching has increasingly grown to be more commonly & more effectively practiced remotely. Research shows that the majority of coaches have increased their use of remote coaching tools by 74% since March 2020.
So, like the rest of the world, the landscape of coaching is also changing... but you're probably wondering how does this impact you as a coachee and what should you expect from remote coaching relative to in-person coaching? Remote coaching may remain largely unchanged relative to face-to-face coaching or it may require some additional thought and care and customization depending on what the focus of the training is. For example, fitness coaching can occur digitally, but it may be more challenging for the coach to do things like check the athlete's form and make finer adjustments to maintain the athelete's form. But that doesn't mean digital fitness coaching is impossible. In fact, many fitness coaches maintained a digital business online during the most recent COVID pandemic. There's also good evidence that indicates that remote coaching is just as effective as face-to-face coaching. So it seems there's little reason to worry about ineffectiveness when it's done right by trained professionals.
What remote coaching does offer is more flexibility in terms of your schedule and availability. So long as it meets the schedule of your coach, coaching can now be done anytime regardless of where you are in the world. It also has the potential to drop costs as coaches and coachees don't have to spend time and money meeting at a specified location. This means you have the initial cost savings in terms of your commute time and transportation costs but you may also save more money if the coach passes their savings onto their clients as well. Beyond that, when done well remote coaching still has the ability to improve people's experience, wellbeing, success, and goal attainment.
It may just come down to a personal preference as some tend to prefer a more digital or face-to-face experience.
What is Evidence-Based Coaching and Why is it Better?
The evidence-based movement has long historical roots and, truth be told, it all originates with the field of medicine. Beginning in the early days of medicine it was pretty much a free-for-all. Anyone could hang a shingle and claim they could treat everything from the sniffles to leprosy and none of these claims had to be backed up by any evidence what so ever. Many grifters and snake-oil peddlers ran amuck and swindled people out of their hard earned money. Not only were these people made poorer by the actions of these quack practitioners but, given the serious nature of conditions of health many people were harmed and died as a result of their poorly placed confidence. It wasn't until the 1900s that medical doctors (as we know them) even made it on the scene and it was even later still that evidence was used to back up claims and provide confidence in medicine as a practice.
In short, evidence has the capacity to inform us to make better decisions. Whether the decision is to go with a specific coach or medical practitioner over another or to pursue a set of goals or to risk undertaking a medical procedure in order to be well again, better informed decisions generally lead to better outcomes. Like evidence-based medicine, evidence-based coaching offers a more transparent and better informed path for both you (as a coachee) and your coach (as a practitioner) to make the best informed decisions to lead to your development.
In today's medical context, the term “evidence-based” refers to the most critical and thoughtful use of the best available knowledge in making decisions. Evidence is responsible for nearly every marvel that modern medicine has to provide. Evidence-based coaching is no different. Evidence-based coaching referrs to using evidence to deliver coaching to clients, in designing and teaching coach-training programs, and in the development of coaching materials and tools. The best knowledge is up-to-date information from relevant, valid research, theory and practice. It also takes into account relevant organizational data and all key stakeholders that may be impacted by decisions. However, because the existing academic coaching literature is still quite small, the best available knowledge is usually supplemented by (if not drawn directly from) the much more established literature in related fields.
The Four Domains of Knowledge Informing Evidence-Based Coaching
1. The Behavioural Sciences
2. Business and Management Sciences
3. Adult education - including workplace learning and development
and 4. philosophy.
The behavioural sciences happen to be where the vast majority of expert knowledge that informs coaching stems from. The behavioural sciences describe how people think, act, and feel and specific domains of the behavioural sciences - like organizational psychology, sports psychology, educational psychology, and counselling psychology - all describe this all through the lens of how this impacts people, their work, their performance, their success, and wellbeing.
As a great deal of coaching focuses on professional contexts (with both executives and nonexecutive clients) any coach working in these sorts of contexts should have a solid foundation of education and training in business and management in order to best understand and meet their clients’ needs. Similarly, when done in a corporate context, involving both a coachee and a corporate sponsoring entity, organisations increasingly require coaching to be explicitly linked to the business's bottom line or expected imperatives and (direct or indirect) outcomes.
Adult education, including learning and development, provide the critical theory and practice laying at the foundation of adult learning - also known as androgogy. The majority of coaching clients are adults. Research can inform what is both effective and ineffective where it comes to teaching and learning. Efforts should both be directed to their target demographic and make use of the vast bodies of evidence in the domain of adult education.
Philosophy is at the heart of many coaching issues, such as the nature of good corporate governance, business ethics, questions of self-identity and personal values. Coaches need to have well-developed critical thinking skills, the ability to analyse and reason from first principles, and the ability to construct arguments and hold robust and well-reasoned discussions.
All the coaches at Emovere and who work in partnership with Emovere are evidence-based. If you don't believe what they're saying about something, ask them. They will show you their evidence to back-up their claims. If you have strong evidence to suggest otherwise, feel free to have a discusion about it with them.