One of the most challenging and yet most valuable roles of a coach is to help learners take control of their own destiny. One of the sad realities is that many people underachieve, often as a result of the feedback that they receive from others. Parents, teachers, friends, partners are often responsible for giving (often unsolicited) advice or feedback that so undermines confidence that individuals give up on a plan or course of action because of doubts fuelled by someone else. What this often does is to reinforce the concerns that individuals may already have.
For a coach the challenge is to help individual learners rise above their own negativity and to resist advice from other people until they have taken the time to really explore how they could move from dream to reality.
One of the first stages in working with learners is to help them to identify what they really want to achieve. There can be a number of contexts for this and it is important to help learners work through the key stages. For some learners this may be difficult if they never have had the opportunity to sit and review their hopes and aspirations. Within a working environment objective and goal setting tends to be work related, i.e. individuals are often asked to match or develop competencies in areas of organizational need. If you are acting as a personal coach to individual learners you should help them to think about what they want to achieve in both work and life goals.
This is another area where some challenges to assumptions can be made; promotion is not necessarily the way to reward people. For many years there was a belief that career progression meant moving up an organization, taking on more and more responsibility. In recent years both individuals and organizations are beginning to realize that there are alternatives to progressing up an organization. As organizations have grown leaner, downsized, restructured through mergers and acquisitions, traditional career paths have changed. The development of functional specialists, the creation of new business units, the growth of internal consultants and the impact of e-commerce have changed the face of organizational development. Helping learners to identify what level of responsibility they aspire to and looking at alternatives can be a very useful role of a personal coach. Helping them to identify how they can reduce their level of responsibility or develop new levels of specialist skill can be part of this.