There are as many definitions of coaching as there are "coaches". The main aim of coaching, however, consists in leading individuals to position themselves towards their professional life and/or project(s). The key-question that every coached person is proposed to answer is: "What role am I expected to play within the company through my projects and responsibilities?"
The gap between coaching within an organization and competition in sports deserves a special mention, for their methodology and – more importantly – their finality radically differ. Indeed, individuals who go beyond their strengths rather represent a threat than an opportunity for the company. Moreover, competition in a professional context can cause a deterioration of the company's social atmosphere, which is one of its most valuable assets. It is thus important to be very clear as to what the goals and the methodology of the coaching process are.
Also note that team coaching tends to be more and more often introduced into companies. It includes the same tools and pursues the same goals as individual coaching. The difference is that, instead of starting the coaching with an individual audit, it is the global functioning of the team that is assessed in the first place. Similarly, at the end of the process, every team member will be attributed specific responsibilities in the collective action plan.
A number of tools can be used, as these should be directly adapted to the coached person’s situation – i.e. to their professional project, different partners, etc. However, the following tools deserve to be mentioned, as they are the most commonly used at the moment:
Management Through Professional Coaching (MPC) offers a coaching methodology that structures every activity into a project. This business coaching process (illustration) follows the following steps:
1) Audit of the coached person: assessments both at professional (knowledge, know-how and behavior) and personal level (knowledge of one’s values and life-balance) in order to compare them to the project’s characteristics.
2) Audit of the project: This analysis aims to structure the project’s demands in an objective manner, both at technical and human levels. It will include:
3) Definition of the project's mission: construction of the project’s mission. The latter should integrate the coached person’s characteristics and aspirations (i.e. their ideals and values) as much as possible.
4) Goals and activity flows: At this stage, we identify the – often ill-defined – quantitative (turnover, costs, deadlines, absenteeism…) and/or qualitative goals (quality of products/services, motivation, work atmosphere, skills…) that underlie the mission. These can be decomposed into sub-goals – or "milestones" – that will allow a better control of the project’s advancement. Note that human-related goals (e.g. the improvement of the relation to the customers, the development of the project team’s skills…) are often forgotten in this process.
The activity flows are also derived from the team’s mission. They should be rationalized in relation to the organization's global workflows, in order to allow for gains in terms of time, energy and money. Moreover, listing up all of the team’s activities will ease the distribution of roles and responsibilities within the team itself.
5) Resources and structure: At this stage, all resources – whether technical (tools, information, infrastructures…) or human (customer management, marketing, communication…) – that will allow for the mission to be fulfilled, should be listed up.
As for the structure, it consists in formalizing and delimitating each person’s role in a clear and transparent way, in order to foster the development of delegation and the acquisition of a structured and global vision (for the project manager).
6) Action plan: It is aimed at the realization of the mission. Without this step and its implementation, the coaching process would be useless. It is absolutely necessary that the decisions made to be quickly implemented.
This action plan is made up of two parts:
7) Monitoring of the project: The achievement of the goals set in the action plans is continually checked for as the project unfolds. When intermediary goals are achieved, new goals are set, and so on, until completion of the project's mission.
Here is a double action plan (example) - for both the coachee's personal development and the management of the project itself - that derives from the Management through Professional Coaching (MPC) methodology.