Four Stages of Coaching
I became a believer in the power of coaching for growth and achievement back in 2003, when I had the opportunity to work with an exceptional executive coach. I’m convinced I would not have had the career and other growth opportunities I had were it not for this experience.
Coaching’s impact on my career was so significant, in fact, that I eagerly volunteered to be part of an internal coaching cadre initiated by my employer ten years after my personal coaching engagement. The goal of my company’s coaching initiative was to train and certify employees to coach internal leaders in its talent pipeline. As cadre members, we agreed to coach at least four high potential employees each year while still fulfilling our normal job responsibilities.
Many of us in the cadre exceeded our four-person requirement. For me, the opportunity to coach others ignited a passion. I actively participated in the cadre for the remainder of my career with the company, while also pursuing additional coaching training and credentials, including becoming an International Coaching Federation (ICF) certified coach. Putting passion into reality, I launched Oppnå® Executive and Achievement Coaching in 2017.
It’s been a rewarding journey. Data shows that most people who experience coaching value it. According to the 2022 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, 86% of those who participated in a coaching relationship were satisfied with their experience and only 4% were not satisfied. While people seek coaching for many different reasons, commonly sought outcomes for any engagement include growth and achievement in a specific area(s) of desired change.
A successful coaching engagement helps the individual move from where they are to where they want to be. Four key stages in the coaching process contribute to successful outcomes:
1. Discovery— both self-discovery and input from stakeholders and/or assessments—leads to greater self-awareness and clarity.
2. Awareness uses discovery information and personal objectives to create actionable coaching goals that capitalize on your strengths, honor your values, and concentrate on your top one or two gap areas.
3. Growth is the meaningful change that comes by acting and committing to trying new methods and behaviors to work more effectively with others. Your coach serves as your guide and a partner in this process of change. There is no growth without action and commitment. When new learned behaviors become ingrained, others notice the positive changes.
4. Achievement— working with or amplifying your strengths, living your values, and developing in your gap areas— allows you to succeed in achieving your goals, often leading to new opportunities.
Clients who engage with their coaches and approach each stage with an open mind and readiness to work at making changes tend to succeed.
The discovery and awareness work fuels growth and achievement. Valuable insights are gleaned from personal reflection, a product of the discovery work; greater self-awareness is an outcome of stakeholder feedback and assessments. Creating actionable goals with timelines and methods to measure what success looks like sets up a path to growth and achievement for those willing to act.
Action, along with commitment to improvement, is the key for growth. For those willing to change, adopting a new way of operating takes both practice and perseverance. Stakeholders can become your biggest supporters, especially when they see you are working on goals tied into some of the feedback they’ve provided. Therefore, stakeholder involvement is critical to the process.
Achievement is both an outcome of the previous stages and the beginning of a reflection stage. Oftentimes, achieving a career or personal objective leads to setting new goals, being asked to take on more responsibilities, or being considered for new opportunities, thereby starting the process again. As the saying goes, life is journey, not a destination.
How can a certified executive coach help you or the employees in your organization navigate the four stages of coaching that lead to greater personal and organizational growth and achievement?
Lance Hazzard, PCC, CPCC, is an Executive Team Coach and a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations achieve success. Lance and Eric T. Hicks, Ph.D., co-authored Accelerating Leadership, published in June 2019. Lance is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. More information on the book, Lance and Oppnå® Coaching can be found at the links below: