We live in a world where self improvement has become an imperative. The free enterprise capitalist system was declared the winner well before the end of the 20th century. Experiments in dirigiste state planned/communist societies had finally fallen by the wayside and market economies driven by intelligent self interest stride the globe.
Self interest…………self improvement. We are besieged by any number of self help tracts designed to give us an edge as we seek to improve our personal lives or our performance in the workplace. Midst these myriad approaches the one technique which appears to yield real, measurable results is personal coaching.
Personal coaching has become big business occupying two main streams – business coaching and life coaching. Each is intended to achieve different ends and the coaches to each will have come from different backgrounds and disciplines.
Life coaching is a very personal service designed to help an individual identify particular goals and to put in place a process which will ensure their achievement. Those goals will represent a spectrum of interests covering career, finances, personal health and well being, family matters, hobbies and so on which are of concern to us all as we aim to live a purposeful life. The coach will have experience in working to this holistic view of the individual’s needs and will have been trained to discipline a person’s thinking, prioritise goals and, most importantly, identify the steps required to meet them.
Business coaching is in most respects more robust and focused. The business coach is less concerned with an individual’s holistic needs (though work life balance is important to success in business) and more about the individual’s performance in the job. The coach will work to agree those key objectives which, when met, will ensure superior performance. He/she is likely to have had more extensive training in planning and executing tasks and will be the more effective if he/she has had a successful business career where that experience can be employed to assist in identifying issues, analysing options for action, and executing a plan.
Both forms of coaching have been in use for two decades in the West and only recently has the practice been adopted by individuals and corporates in the UAE and GCC. There is no evidence of any cultural objection to using coaches here. Rather the absence of sufficient qualified coaches to satisfy demand has kept a rein on its more extensive application.
The distinctions between life and business coaching diminish when it is understood that the overriding purpose of any form of coaching is self improvement. Whether we are concerned with creating an holistic approach to leading our lives or determined to be a superior performer in the workplace the evidence is now clear that personal coaching is the best means of getting results.