Coaching is starting to become the norm in professional services firms, and it is no-longer just for partners. Other fee-earners and professionals are seeing the benefits, as well marketing, business development and other support teams.
What is the difference between mentoring and coaching?
Mentoring is something that is at the heart of most professional services firms. The model for many years has been for the more experienced professional to impart their knowledge and train more junior members of staff. This is seen in law firms with the partner who takes the trainee solicitor under his wing. Barristers mentor their pupils. Partners in accountancy firms take trainee accountants through their paces. This has been extended in many firms with the introduction of partners specifically responsible for the well being and training of juniors. Other firms have introduced the concept of peer mentoring.
Coaching is often confused with mentoring. It is however fundamentally different. Mentoring involves someone who is experienced at a specific skill imparting their wisdom and showing someone else the ropes. It has a vital role to play in professional service firms. Coaching is different. Coaching is a unique relationship between the coach and the coachee. It is a meeting of equals where the coach affords the coachee space to come to their own conclusions. Both are about performance, but both approach performance in a different way. Coaching is non-judgmental. Its aim is to help the person being coached come to their own conclusions.
Why is coaching so powerful in professional services?
In professional services firms so much hinges on the performance of the individual. The delivery of the service is clearly intrinsically tied to the professional. However, the role of the professional is so much more complex than merely being a service provider. The professional in today’s marketplace needs to understand their clients like never before. They need to be sector experts as well as experts in their field of expertise. Professionals today need to be able to market themselves and sell. They need to be skilled presenters and excel at networking. They must be leaders and team players.
Coaching works in professional services because it can help professionals navigate the complexities of the world they are in. It gives them the space to consider their performance and how to make it better. Coaching considers the professionals as people, as well as professionals and can unlock powerful insight.
What is the focus of coaching?
Coaching sessions focus on a goal or set of goals which are defined by the coachee. Client Talk works with individuals at the outset to understand what they want to achieve from coaching and what the focus of each session should be. This is flexible, and where a professional wants to venture into other areas our coaches will agree this with the professional being coached.
What tools do coaches use?
Each coaching conversation is different. All of our coaches adopt a person-centric style of coaching. This is a non-judgmental style of coaching which adopts Carl Rogers approach that each individual has the capacity to fulfill his or her own potential. Central to this approach is that the coach strives to understand the client’s point of view, the coach provides unconditional positive regard, shows empathetic understanding and is congruent with the coachee. At the heart of this approach is trust between the coach and the coachee.
Within this style, there are a wide range of tools available to a coach. These tools can be as simple as the GROW model or more involved. Our coaches are trained in different techniques such as Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioural Coaching and ACT. Our approach to coaching is to use the tools that are best suited to the coachee and the coachees focus. We recognise that everyone is different and that every issue affects individuals differently.
If you'd like to find out how Client Talk's coaches can help you and your business get in touch.