What is coaching?

As I look around at the various approaches to personal development, I’ve come to believe that transformational coaching represents the current state of the art in exploring the age old question of how we live a meaningful life. In no other approach is there such a quality of collaboration, assumption of potential and the meeting of two minds in a space of equality.

Nick Bolton, Founder, Animas Centre for Coaching

When Nick said this at a conference some years ago he was articulating a belief that would become our vision for coaching.

We believe coaching is just at the start of its journey and our vision is to see it adopted as the approach-of-choice for most change conversations.

When coaching first emerged in the 1990s, it set out to distinguish itself from approach likes counselling and therapy by focusing predominantly on goals and behavioural change. Simple models like GROW dominated and coaching took on a process like quality.

But people aren’t processes. We are human beings and we’re all trying to make sense of our life in some way. We bring with us a complex and changeable mix of thoughts, feelings, habits, beliefs, values, assumptions and instincts.

Coaching happens within a relationship between a coach and their client, with both parties working to explore an area, or work toward an outcome for the client. The outcome may be anything from a specific and tangible goal, to exploring why they experience the world as they do. The possible applications of coaching are countless, and the core principles and qualities of coaching make it uniquely powerful as a tool for inquiry and change.

Coaching can take many different forms and arrangements. Coaches vary in how they work (for example: in person; via Skype; for a defined number of sessions or an open-ended process, and so on), who they work with, and the sorts of approaches, issues and areas they might specialise in.

For us, coaching is an empowering, exploratory and collaborative conversation. The transformative life coaching that we teach at Animas enables us to identify and explore the bigger questions we all face that often sit behind immediate challenges. For example, we might ask ourselves ‘Which job should I take?’

The decisions we make on every-day issues are usually informed by (often unconscious) answers to bigger questions which can benefit from attention and exploration, such as: ‘What do I want to do with my life?’, ‘What are my priorities at the moment?’ and ‘What are my values?’ Coaching can help to notice the foundational ideas and unanswered questions, and explore the beliefs, values and assumptions that drive our experience, decision-making, behaviour and results.

Animas’ transformative coaching approach allows us to coach at this deeper level. The change that transformative coaching brings about can be longer-lasting and further reaching than is possible at the performance or developmental level. It brings about change not only in the realm of tangible results, but also in the client’s understanding of their own worldview, experience of themselves, and of life.

To find out more about our Accredited Diploma in Transformational Coaching, simply click the sections below to dive deeper in to the details of the course.