What price a seven-course-meal?

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Definitions of Coaching are aplenty; comprehensive ones are few. Most present-day definitions speak elaborately of the role of the Coach and of the Coaching (https://karenwise.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/what-is-coaching-10-definitions/), but there is very little focus on the Coachee – the counterpart, nay, the main part, for whose benefit this exercise of Coaching is undertaken.

Surface level interpretations of such definitions could lead to flaws in the very nature of Coaching. When the whole world is treating the Customer as King and focusing on “Customer Delight”, Coaching, which professes to be Coachee-centric, cannot afford to be far behind! With our work impinging on the Coachee’s psychology, we Coaches need to realise that we are knocking at a gate that can be opened only by the Coachee because it opens from inside.

Yes, the desire to be coached for improvement needs to come from the Coachee. The people and environment around him or her, also have to be conducive for such a transformation. Dr. B. Prashantham, Professor and Director at CCC Vellore, made an interesting observation recently. In the de-addiction camps he facilitates, he observed stark improvements in results upon the mere inclusion of a screening test for patient-willingness to give up alcoholism. Willing patients not only showed higher levels of progress, but also elicited more optimistic and eager support from their families.

Coaching is in no way akin to de-addiction camps but we may agree that they are both interventions that help people help themselves. Coaching literature and practice has observed similar trends. In his book, ‘An Introduction to Coaching Skills’, Academic and Executive Coach Dr. Christian van Nieuwerburgh observed that Client factors affect Coaching outcomes more than the Coaching relationship, theory or techniques.

For Coaching to work, we need the Coachee to be aware of and interested in its benefits; and determined to take up the exercise seriously and sincerely. The Chemistry session can be used to work up a fascination for Coaching in the Coachee. When a Coachee is negligent towards Coaching homework or is not supported with time, resources and optimism from his or her employer, we need to pause and evaluate the implications on Coaching outcomes. After all, what worth is a seven-course-meal, if the appetite is not there!

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