Before becoming a coach I was coached. I was amazed at how how powerful the process was and I had little understanding of what had just happened or why my attitude to difficulty had changed so dramatically. My attempt to define the process to other people was to say, “it’s about finding what works and making it happen.”
It’s still quite a good explanation.
A more formal one might be that solution focused coaching is the accompaniment of individuals and groups through personal development or professional change, helping each client identify, and focus on, possibilities for becoming the person they would like to be, to overcome mental blocks, and to construct and implement action plans in order to achieve these objectives.
It is usually a brief process of between 6 and 12 sessions, at the beginning they take place every one or two weeks and towards the end, every month or six weeks.
Solution focused coaching has a great track record of bringing about positive change in companies and for the people who work within them. It is used by international corporations, small businesses, private individuals, groups and families.
There is no magic to coaching. The coach uses a set of core skills, following a structure and sometimes using tools. The structure starts with an agreement to define the objectives of the coaching process, then the client and coach engage in solution focused questioning to clarify the vision and motivations for change and to find possible means of acheiving the desired outcomes. Lastly the coach helps the client create an action plan and commit to the next steps.
Coaching works beause it uses the needs and knowledge of the client to create the most appropriate possible solutions and action plans.
Coaching is not about giving expert advice or any other form of telling the client what to do (telling people what to do actually reduces the impact of the coaching process). The most powerful changes occur when individuals understand what they want, what their motivation is and these changes happen at the time when the client is ready to take the action necessary to make their goals reality.
In the world of talent mangement it is widely recognised that keeping good employees requires more than just a big pay packet. Sponsoring employees in coaching gives them the possibility to take control of their lives, a feeling of purpose and understanding why they come to work, and also the possibility to develop, learn and ultimately become and be recognised as masters in their chosen fields.
Companies who invest in coaching for their employees are, in effect, investing in the personal development of the individuals concerned, but in turn they get greatly empowered individuals and teams. Coaching works by using the individual client's needs and knowledge so it is not possible to push the specific agenda of a company or a boss. However, before starting the coaching process, the coach will meet with the boss, the human resources manager and the client to make an agreement on the objectives, support and reporting and in this way the company can have a clear idea of what it is gaining by developing an individual.
Managers often turn to coaching at points of difficulty, where change seems to be blocked, such as when companies merge or modernise and wish to generate cohesion or define values. It can be very useful when managers or teams feel ill-equipped to take on new responsibilities or unable to learn new skills. A coach can help increase employee satisfaction, commitment, and can help manage conflict, define business strategies, develop careers, or fulfill ambitions.
A client who had worked at the European Central Bank told the story of heading the project to design, produce and bring into common use the Euro banknotes - each denomination has a bridge on one side and a doorway, gate or window on the other - we were working to find a powerful image he could use to represent his values and through communication training he came to the idea of describing himself as building bridges and opening doorways.
Communication is how we relate to all other people, from clients, to colleagues, family and strangers. And while there are no strict rules for communicating there are norms and best practices that often escape us.
Helping clients find ways to communicate that enhance their personality, and the connection they wish to make is a highly rewarding and creative activity.
The fundamental difference between coaching and training is that coaching is based entirely on the knowledge of the client, where training involves the transmission of knowledge and technique.
Using knowledge of coaching, years of experience as a copywriter in the advertising industry, of publishing and promoting novels, and of training adults in a corporate environment, I work with the client to create a training program adapted to her or his learning needs and objectives.
...building bridges and opening doors.
I work independently both as a coach and as a communication trainer for companies such as ALIANZ PARTNERS, NOVARTIS, BANK DE FRANCE and EUROGROUP CONSULTING. I also coach private individuals. I live in Paris but, many of my clients (both French and non-French) ask me to coach in English. I am however, very happy working in French.
I trained as a coach with Erickson International to the level of EPC (Erickson Professional Coach) and have attained the ICF Associat Certified Coach (ACC) accrediatiaon.
Before training as a solution focused coach I worked as a language coach which gradually evolved into communication training in English. I eventually started creating and delivering tailor-made programs, particularly for people working in marketing and communication, or people preparing important presentations. I also worked for many years as an advertising copywriter.
I write fiction and have published two novels. Information about my writing can be found at benjamin-constable.net. Also, in a long ago past, I produced electronic music and released and appeared on a few records.
I am an International Coach Federeation (ICF) Assocate Certified Coach (ACC). The ICF is the largest of three federations that regulate the coaching industry in France. Membership is voluntary, but the ACC accreditation means that I have undergone coach specific training by an ICF accredited training organisation, that I have attained the required amount of coach experience, I have passed an exam and my coaching has been evaluated and found to adhere to a strict code of ethics, and that I coach on the priciples of a list of core competences set out by the ICF.
Before starting any coaching journey it's necessary to have what is known as a "session zero" to explain how coaching works in a little more detail, to establish the objectives and expectations and to evaluate whether the coach and client are interested in working together. Session Zero is free and usually takes between 20 minutes and half an hour. It can take place over the phone, by video conference, or face to face.
If you would like more information on coaching or being coached by me, the first step in your coaching journey is to get in contact. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sadly, ICF accreditation alone is not sufficient to guarantee quality. Before committing to work with any coach it is recommended that you consider a few questions: Do I like this person? Does this person seem competent, honest, grounded and positive? Do they have behaviour traits that indicate that they are being manipulative? Does their explanation of coaching make sense in scientific terms? Are they committed to the core competences and ethics set out by the ICF? Do they have other respected clients and recommendations?
© Benjamin Constable 2018