Justas Janauskas asked the following question:
"Povilai, coaching still has a poor reputation in Lithuania and is often related to success teachers and semi-scam. Could you explain in your own words what it is, and, given your specialization in IT, explain how it can help a professional to transition from a Software Engineer to a Head of Engineering position?"
Bellow, I cover the following:
1) How do I see the reputation of coaching?
2) How do I define coaching?
3) How do I do coaching?
4) Why do people use coaching?
5) How can a leader benefit from coaching?
1️⃣ Reputation of Coaching
Indeed, in Lithuania, the reputation of coaching is very mixed ranging from negative among regular people to neutral or positive among executives, especially middle or C-Level. However, in English-speaking countries, the reputation is much more positive and straightforward.
2️⃣ Definition of Coaching
- NOT success consulting, although some people who promise wealth and luxury may call themselves 'success coaches'
- NOT skills training, although coaching is also based on experimentation and reflective thinking
- NOT mentoring, although the coach often has professional experience in his/her area of specialization (e.g. former exec coaching current execs)
- NOT therapy, although coaching draws from psychological theory and therapeutic techniques (e.g. listening, mirroring, feedback, experimentation)
As a coaching psychologist, I define coaching as a profession as we as a conversational learning tool based on established psychological theories and therapeutic techniques. The goal of coaching is to help mentally and emotionally functional people (individuals or groups) achieve short-term or long-term goals in their areas of interest. These include work, career, life, health, and other.
3️⃣ Application of Coaching
We support our clients by asking thought-provoking questions, challenging their thinking patterns, and providing feedback. Contrary to parents, teachers, friends, life or business partners, we are much more professional and ethical in our approach. This means that we give priority to scientifically-informed techniques and interventions. Also, we pay careful attention to the client's agenda as opposed to our own.
4️⃣ Goals of Coaching
The reason why people use coaching services is the same reason why they read books, listen to podcasts, attend workshops, and go to university. In other words, they want to become better than they were yesterday in terms of their knowledge, effectiveness, productivity, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and wellbeing.
5️⃣ Leadership Example
Speaking of your given example, a software engineer who is new in one's leadership role will definitely have to learn a lot about oneself and one's role in a very short period of time. Because almost every strategic decision counts, the price for mistakes is much higher than before.
If that is the case, a coaching partnership will help you get a head start in your role. You will have a safe and supportive space to collect your thoughts and feelings around important questions and decisions. Furthermore, you will build resilience in the face of pressure and failure which, to a certain extent, is inevitable in a new leadership role. Of course, for a coaching partnership to work, the client should feel intrinsically motivated to succeed and have necessary organizational support.
Justai, what reservations do you have when it comes to choosing coaching services or any other form of personal growth, including, but not limited to training, mentoring, self-help, or therapy?