Coaching is a process in which a motivated learner works with a trained coach to acquire certain competencies or skills that will enable him or her to function more effectively in the organization.  This can be as part of a proactive development process for building leadership capacity or as an intervention for less then effective performance.  In either case, it is about closing the gap between what is current and what is possible. 

The emergence of coaching as an intervention for performance enhancement grew out of the change in corporate Training and Organizational Development in the early 1990s.  Research indicated  that off-the-shelf solutions to organizational learning did not have the desired effect.  A new approach of performance consulting emerged that redefined the role of Training and OD as problem solvers who studied real organizational learning needs and crafted custom solutions.   It was found that these targeted solutions were often best implemented in the one-on-one learning relationship of coaching. 

  Coaching has several characteristics that give it unique value as a learning tool.   

  • It is highly individualized to the specific needs of the Learner.
  • It occurs over time and is a learning process, not a learning event.
  • The structure of coaching allows for flexibility to meet changing needs.
  • The one-on-one relationship fosters accountability to the learning process and improves outcomes.

Typically a coaching experience is built around a specific need in competency development that exists for the Learner.  This may grow out of a 360 Feedback Assessment or from a work style assessment such as the Insights Discovery Profile..  Or, the need may  involve changing a pattern of ineffective performance.  In either case the approach is similar.   The coach will assist the Learner in reviewing the relevant data and building a development plan to address the need.  In the context of a regular schedule of meetings the Coach and Learner process the Learnerís efforts to perform to the goals of the plan.   Rapport, candid feedback and collaborative problem solving combine to create an environment where the Learner stretches beyond his or her previous limits to become a higher functioning, higher contributing member of the organization.