This article relates to the author's experience and insights gained acting as personal coach. It is hoped that this sharing can benefit the regular readers of this homepage.
The concept of Personal Coach
In ancient China, it was common for people to look for a personal coach, called "shi-fu", or "the wise man". The pursuit for knowledge, skills and techniques was great. There could be a variety of reasons for such quest: for example, to acquire some basic skills for survival reasons, to seek knowledge in order to enrich the life or making it more meaningful, or to learn some techniques so as to conquer another province or over-throw a
dynasty. There were many stories of eager students taking great pain and difficulties and years in search for such a personal coach
In modern time, due to its more sophisticated and complex life, the concept of personal coach is much more diluted, or takes different form and shape. There is less personal coaching but more mass "coaching" by educational system, institutions, specialists, consultants, ... also for the pursuit of knowledge, skills and techniques for whatever may be the reasons.
Understanding of Personal Coach and the need of it
Personal Coaching is unique and should be differentiated from other form of learning. Being "personal" in coaching process, it involves a relationship between the coach and the
coachee. Such relationship invariably touches the outlook of life or philosophy of being for both parties. Consciously or unconsciously there is mutual influence to each other in the process of coaching. A good example is the personal coaching in the field of sports, arts or music. In the case of mass coaching, there is less of such opportunity.
Some have realized that in this world of specialization, the need for personal coaching has become more important. As our life gets more fragmentalised, the quest for knowledge other than what was acquired before hand is expressed in hobbies, games, or related knowledge that can greatly enhance our present
specialized knowledge. A new thinking starts to emerge in organizations : "manager or supervisor should also be coach to their sub-ordinates". (But the lack of skills and competencies for most managers as coaches, make the ideals difficult to attend except for management rhetoric that coaching is taking place. Some
organization members do see the need of personal coaching more pressing and critical.)
Who needs coaching and from who?
Theoretically we need coaching from each other in order to have a more rounded and meaningful life. This is because each of us has certain knowledge, skills and techniques which others do not have. In another word, no single person has complete knowledge in his or her possession. Hence a coach, or "shi-fu", does not imply greatness or superiority of the person.
However, some people have more inclination towards coaching others with necessary skills than just recipients of knowledge. And coaching indeed needs some special skills. Hence some people have greater tendency to become coach to other, whereas others need coaching to help themselves to get on with their life more meaningfully and effectively.
Is Coach an Expert?
The answer is partly yes, mostly no. An expert possess some knowledge that can be sometimes considered absolute or final. For example, a medical surgeon, structural engineer, a professional. But a coach's primary purpose is to help the students / clients / recipients to explore and develop their inner strength / potentials with a set of principles, theories and discipline to be followed. Hence a coach seldom give solutions, but co-create together with the recipients for a creative outcome.
Coaching on What?
There is an infinite domains of knowledge, skills and techniques for which coaching can be applied. This author shares some of the knowledge domains and types of coaching recipients experienced. As learning is a never ending process, this author is also continuously acquiring more knowledge, skills and techniques from other coach or other sources.
The type of knowledge for which coaching is applied by this author are:
For Business, Organization and Management application:
Business System Design, Business Plan, System Audit, Strategies, Structure, Business Operation & Management using IT tools, Visioning process,.... Teamwork, Creativity, Problem solving, Systems Thinking Framework design, use of various management tools like ISO 9000, ISO 14000, TQM, Reengineering, Benchmarking, Learning
Organization, NLP, Solution Focus, Brief Therapy, Appreciative Enquiry etc.
For individual application:
Aspiration, Leadership, Motivation, Self actualization process, the Goal of Life, Discipline and Creative thinking, Thinking framework design, Value and Belief System, Life
Planning, NLP, ....
For investment application:
Stock Market using Technical Analysis, Trader's psychology and Philosophy of Life, Mutual Fund,
Unit Trusts, ... Refer Investment Knowledge
Types of coaching recipients:
CEO, Business Owners, Managers, Supervisors, Shopfloor staff, Politician, Businessmen, Individuals,
Churches or NGO, Teachers, Students, Families, etc.
Experience shows that coaching process started in a rather informal way. Through interaction with friends, colleagues, subordinates, families members etc. this author
realized that there are certain knowledge gained in the course of organization
work, in the form of well expressed theories, principle and models, that could be useful to circle of known people. Coupled with other skills like facilitation, serious and creative thinking discipline, quest for knowledge through reading and research, and many practices, a more structured approach in coaching is implemented. In this way, a circle of influence is slowing growing.
Unlike most management consultants, who are too much inclined to deal on theories, coaching involves the reality or actual context of the recipients' thinking and environment. This requires a trusting relationship.
Personal Coach and Organization Coach
It is also found that some personal coaching somehow encroach into organization
coaching. This is so especially when the coaching recipient's context is part of the larger
organization reality. Through the recipient's own circle of influence in the
organization, this author takes up the opportunity of becoming an organization
And interestingly, in most cases, the coaching recipients realize the need to become coach in his or her own
organization, in order to increase his or her own sphere of influence for attainment the
organizational goal. In this respect, this author transfer his coaching skills to such person.
Learning from Coaching
One of the greatest benefits derived from coaching by this author is the greater dimension of LEARNING. To achieve this objective, another important role-play is to be an objective OBSERVER of the context / environment presented by clients / recipient. Most of the learning / observations are
summarized as per articles in this homepage, to benefit the Internet community also. As regular readers of this homepage, you are always welcome to give your comments / critiques.