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The world is technologically complex today. Most managers, coaches or consultants are not in a position to give commands or tell others what to do. This point appears paradoxical because one might reason, the more complex the world, the more dependent we become on experts to tell us what to do since we do not understand ourselves how many things work.
A technological complex world
The catch is that many people don’t understand or mistrust the expert, with the result that they do it wrong or not at all. The lesson we learn from this is that expertise does not guarantee that one can influence others. A more realistic model is to use a facilitative approach to accomplish agreed goals. You therefore assist the person to help him or herself.
The helping dilemma – This article will assist you to decide what kind of assistance you need
We face a helping dilemma of how to be helpful in a situation where there is real choice between:
- Giving advice, telling others what to do, playing the role of expert, and
- Helping “clients” to figure out the solution for themselves, facilitating their own problem solving, even if that involves withholding what may seem to the consultant an obvious solution.
For some clients there appear to be a magic solution or holy grail that makes others very successful. It is therefore tempting to look for the “easy road” in getting solutions from gurus and experts.
Who is a guru?
In the west anyone who has followers and who is considered an authority in their arena may be called a guru. A guru is usually a very successful person whose has proved him/herself. Some of them are flooded with requests for help and assistance, mostly from people who want the magic recipe or the holy grail to success. Some gurus have excellent programs if you judge the content. Most of their programs are based on an invitation to look over their shoulders as they do or explain the job.
How successful is learning under a guru?
The question is to what extent are gurus effective in assisting followers to be successful in business or any other arena? The majority of internet marketers and newbie entrepreneurs are not successful. There are not reliable figures available but we will be close to the truth in saying that at least 80% of the business opportunities are utilised by 20% of business people.
Is there a problem with the guru model of learning?
What then is the problem with the guru model of learning? Most novices do not only lack business knowledge, techniques or tactics. Part of their problem is that their professional and business lives are influenced by problems in their personal lives. Personal problems are unlikely to be addressed by a guru’s program.
The curriculum of the guru may be far removed from the learning objectives of the novice. In order to attract clients the guru’s sales letter is written primarily to strongly persuade new clients to come on board. Many novices are not able to make informed decisions about a guru’s program.
Some novices may find a good fit in achieving their objectives by enrolling in the guru’s program, but others will be much better off finding an applicable coaching program.
Is Coaching the answer for many novices?
There are many people who call themselves coaches today. Many of them don’t know the difference in being a consultant, expert or coach. In selecting a coach the novice must do a proper job in selecting a capable professional.
The most important point is that the novice/learner must take responsibility for his/her own life, learning and success. With you the learner in the driving seat you can decide for yourself what your life goals, objectives and learning menu should look like. If you don’t have any of the aforementioned you may need coaching to find direction first.
You must decide
I have mentioned that an expert or guru is usually a very successful person from whom you can learn a lot if you are able to manage your own learning process and have taken responsibility for your own life.
A coach will usually take a more personal and different approach. In the next section I am going to discuss coaching and hopefully at the end of the article you will be in a better position to decide on how you will become successful in achieving all your potential.
The job of a coach – The six principles
A coach works with clients to achieve speedy, increased and sustainable effectiveness in their lives and careers through focused learning. The coach’s sole aim is to work with the client to achieve all of the client’s potential – as defined by the client.
Jenny Rogers 2004 wrote an excellent book on coaching skills. She defined six principles that help differentiate coaching from other apparently similar disciplines.
Even if you are involved in a program presented by an expert these six principles will help you to make informed decisions and manage your learning program.
Principle 1: The client (novice) is resourceful. The client has the resources to resolve his or her problems. The client has not come to be fixed. The coach may offer useful information, but it is the client’s choice whether or not to use it.
Principle 2:The coach’s role is to activate the client’s resourcefulness. It follows from the first belief that the role of the coach is not advice giving. When you give advice you imply that you know best and that the client is a lesser person. Advice giving may lead to dependency – the opposite of what you are trying to achieve as a coach.
Principle 3: Coaching addresses the whole person – past, present and future. Coaches working in the corporate field sometimes see their role as strictly being about work. This may not be enough. Some difficulties in the professional life of the client are usually paralleled by difficulties in the personal parts of their lives.
Principle 4:The client sets the agenda. This is where there is a difference with teaching. There is no set agenda with coaching. The coach may indeed have a mental model of, for instance, effective leadership, but if this is not a concern for the client, then it should not appear on the agenda of the sessions.
Principle 5: The coach and the client are equals. The coach and the client work together in a partnership of equals. The model is colleague–colleague because it is based on total respect. Suspending judgement is essential.
Principle 6: Coaching is about change and action. Clients come to coaching because they want something to change. Essentially they want to be more effective. The role of the coach is to help them achieve this increased effectiveness. It follows therefore that you cannot coach a client who does not want to change. The request for coaching is always triggered by change.
A coaching conversation is unlike most other discussions. It involves an unusually high level of trust and openess on both sides. Creating and sustaining this unusual environment is what gives coaching its power.
A last word
Have you tried a number of times to make progress in your business and life but seem to be at an impasse? In this instance you should seriously consider coaching. Many times a lack of progress is not your fault but caused by exceptional circumstances. Many successful business and sport people reinvigorate their lives and make break toughs to higher levels of success and performance by using a professional coach.
Need a coach?
Piet Joubert performs coaching that is totally focused on eliminating all the barriers to productivity, results, and success that challenge your business and life. You will get more than information but also action on helping you take the best business ideas available and actually IMPLEMENTING them in a carefully structured and scheduled way.
The program is based on personal coaching sessions and access to an on line learning and coaching platform. You will have interaction through live sessions and forum discussions. Contact Piet firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange and qualify for a free coaching session. During this session we will explore your current situation and determine the results you want to achieve. You will decide whether you want to join my coaching program.
1. Rogers, Jenny, 2008. Coaching Skills: A Handbook. Open University Press.
2. Schein, Edgar H, 1987. Process Consultation volume 11. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
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