When people ask me what I do, I tell them I consult in the areas of people strategy and organizational development and I’m also a leadership development coach. No one asks much about the first two areas, I guess they seem self-explanatory, but almost everyone wants to know more about coaching.

Some never heard of coaching outside the world of sports. Others just don’t buy the whole concept of coaching. Why would anyone need a coach? What can you possibly do for someone that they cannot do on their own?

I love that second question, actually, because for me it’s not a question. It’s the perfect answer: Good coaching can take someone where they cannot take themselves.

Coaching is releasing someone’s potential to maximize their performance and purpose. Coaching is providing space free of assumptions, judgement and advice. Coaching is about deep listening, powerful and insightful questioning and about creating new awareness. It allows for looking at things from a different perspective and expanding one’s comfort zone.

Coaching is solution and future-focused, client-centered and action-oriented. The process starts with an optional psychometric assessment, a mandatory benchmark and a personal development plan with SMART goals. When I’m talking coaching, I talk about coaching the gap. The gap between where one is and where they desire to be. It’s always aligned with the goals of the organization or a higher purpose. The plan is then followed by a series of coaching sessions and reviews, discovery, learning and transformation.

Is coaching for everyone? I believe that absolutely everyone can hugely benefit from coaching. But no, it’s not for everyone. In order to make progress and truly benefit from coaching, one has to be “coachable”. One has to want to change, improve and learn. One has to commit. One has to be motivated to go further, to be better, willing to get out of their comfort zone and work really hard. The coach doesn’t do the work for the client, the client does the work. And there is always work when we try to bridge a gap.

If change and improvement were easy, we would all be perfect. If we could all easily maximize our potential, performance and purpose, why wouldn’t we? No, it’s not a quick fix and it’s not easy. It’s a systematic process that yields results equal to the amount of effort the client puts into it.

As a famous American football coach Tom Landry once said: “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you always known you could be.”