There’s nothing mystical about effective business coaching – just a purposeful partnership bringing about powerful progress

Image: Julius Drost at Unsplash

A great privilege of coaching clients around the area of work and business is seeing and hearing those clients make significant progress in their professional lives and businesses. It’s great to see both the visible successes – winning awards, getting significant promotions, growing their revenues and profile, finding buyers and raising funds – and the no less significant inner progress – gaining confidence, growing into leadership roles, developing in resourcefulness and resilience. These are all changes that my clients have made and, as they rave about the progress and change they’ve seen at work, the whole coaching process can sound mystical. It’s hard to believe that working with a good business coach over three or six months can really make all that difference. As a result, it’s easy to ascribe magical qualities to the process.

Some coaches take advantage of this and promise that their skills will bring life changing insights or almost supernatural results. They make out that coaching is a kind of magic and that they are magicians skilled at transforming the lives and fortunes of their clients.

Even if that were true (and it isn’t!), it would be exceptionally bad news. You see, coaching isn’t magic; it’s far, far better. Magic is about illusion and deception, it’s about tricks and concealment. Good coaching is about clarity, awareness and change.

Magic is about one person (the magician) having all the power and knowledge while the the other (the audience member) is willingly manipulated into wonder. Good coaching is about working together in a partnership of equals which serves and benefits you, the client.

Magic is about the magician and their skill. Good coaching is about the client and their capabilities. 

Magic is about the magician and their skill. Good coaching is about the client and their capabilities. 

Magic is fun but it doesn’t last and it’s gone once the magician leaves the room. Good coaching is about equipping you to do your best work – solve problems, make progress and succeed – long after the coaching session or coaching engagement is over. If that sounds less fun, don’t be fooled, as I work with my clients, laughter is often a feature of our sessions. While our work can be intensive, it’s never intense. What’s more, clients often head back to their work or their business smiling at the new perspectives and the surprising solutions they have been able to generate to previously unsolvable professional challenges.

Good coaching is about you continuing to solve problems, make progress and succeed long after the coaching is over

There is power in good coaching but it’s the power of purposeful conversations and the clarity that comes from them.  It’s the power of time and space to consider your professional practice. It’s the power of asking the right questions and receiving non-judgemental support, challenge and accountability. It’s the power of realising that you have more options than you realise and the capability to meet challenges and solve problems in your work. It’s the power of acting on those realisations and taking the first step and then the next step to move forward.

These are real things which make a concrete difference to how you show up and deliver at work. They make all the difference to your professional mindset, behaviours and results. They impact you and everyone who interacts with you. They are not about momentary wonder but long term change. This is what I aim to deliver for every client I work with and it’s better than any magic trick.

Great coaching isn’t magic. It’s much, much better.
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