Learning to coach: The 3 central aspects of coaching

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Coaching is for us a form of support, for which we formally burn. And do not misunderstand us: any form of support or counseling has an existence right on this planet (especially if it helps).


Here writes for you:


Oliver Bartels Oliver_Bartels_swOliver Bartels is a coach and consultant.


From the author:




What is coaching?

There are countless definitions of coaching. If you encounter contradictory approaches, do not be surprised. It is and remains impressive, confusing and momentarily disconcerting, which is all wrapped up in the coat of coaching and sold in it.

The joke is: coaching works. For this, coaching clients do not have to believe, do not have to understand theories and do not have to change their attitudes.

The opinion of customers

We asked our coaching clients and students about their coaching after coaching. Your answers, immediately after the (first) experience, allow an approximation to the term coaching and what can happen there:

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  • A (coaching client): "For me, coaching means a well-marked path, a well-framed program, in which I felt amazingly free to think and feel and act."
  • B (course participant): “Coaching is a way of working on me to change my life for the better.”
  • C (coaching client): "For me, coaching means a very human collaboration that freed and motivated me and that has brought me big steps forward."
  • D (coaching client): “I would see coaching as a ship that gives me the security of arriving at the right port - no matter what happens.”
  • E (course participant): “Always thinking, how do I achieve something - how do I get something - how do I do it - HOW?”

The first time

To sum up, people may not know exactly what to expect before their “first time”. How should they? It's basically like every "first time".

It is only after the (first) own experiences that the picture of what has happened is sharpened. In the case of coaching this is then described as a way, framework, scaffolding or program. Perhaps also as a companion, clarification process, time or feeling journey.

The solution of a problem

Of course, the words clients use to describe their experience are closely related to the way a coach works. Often coaching clients are relieved to enthusiastic or surprised to discover that coaching is really about their own solutions, their own problems.

That there are solutions to apparently unsolvable problems and that they find these solutions themselves. The results of this successful work are then associated with “positive change”, “way out”, “competencies” or “personal responsibility”.

The 3 central aspects of coaching

Whatever the coaching experience, advice or support, there are always three key points:

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  1. The coach puts the coaching client at the center of attention.
  2. The coach supports and appreciates the client 100% -ig.
  3. The client works independently on his own solution. (This is also the chance in coaching and the imperative for the coach!)

A question of delimitation

During our day-to-day work, we noticed that even experienced coaches find it easier to describe everything that coaching is not. And it is apparently difficult to say: This is coaching. That's the way it is.

This fact of describing the “negative” is often criticized. And it is also conceivable that the “negative description” could make your own image of coaching appear blurry and foggy at first glance.

In our view, however, there is nothing to complain about when someone describes “what is not”. If we assume that people learn and perceive through distinction, then understanding things can just as well be done through delimitation.

The example with the fruit

Imagine for a moment that they do not know what fruit is. Somebody tells you, apples are fruits, bananas too, but they look different. Oranges, on the other hand, are similar to apples but are quite different.

What do you know about fruit now, if you do not know fruit? Sometimes it can be helpful for the comprehension to create boundaries on the same conceptual level, instead of just delivering examples: Fruit is different from vegetables.

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It depends on the perception

Put simply, fruit is mostly sweet (and therefore different from vegetables). Meat is of animal origin and fruit is vegetable. You can eat both ...

You see, for perception and learning or comprehension, it can be just as helpful to say “what is not” as to say “what is”. Often it will work best to combine the two.

The packaging should fit the content

However, here, as with all products, the packaging should correspond to the content.

  • If supervision is in it, do not call it coaching.
  • If there are advices in it, do not call it systemic-constructivist coaching.
  • If psychotherapy is in, do not call it coaching.
  • In short, call a one-night stand not marriage and your wife is not mutti.

How to learn coaching?

Both the questioning techniques and tools as well as the attitude to keep out of the problem of the coaching client can be learned.

And as is often the case here: If one considers coaching in this way, then it is primarily an attitude and a technique and not a profession or a vocation. It is the opportunity to help others develop their own solutions.

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The essentials in brief!

  • What? Customized accompaniment. Solution-oriented process.
  • Who? The problem holder. The coach.
  • When? In every key moment of life.
  • From where? By self-recognized needs.
  • For what? To achieve the stated objectives.
  • As? In a process of change, which focuses on individual development and personal skills.
  • Why? To achieve more success, greater performance or autonomy or satisfaction, happiness, self-knowledge and / or mind filling.

The first time?

Whether you have been supporting other people through coaching for a long time, or are on your way to the first time, you can make a difference for clients.

In our coaching courses, participants often cannot believe on the first day that they will soon be able to successfully and profitably coach themselves. Maybe the first “first times” in coaching sometimes seem a bit stiffer than the later “first times”. The results always make a difference for the client. We are convinced of that.

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