The official definition of a coach from the Oxford English Dictionary is a tutor who gives private or specialized teaching or training. And to tutor or teach means to provide with authoritative information or advice, while to train is to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient and/or to make prepared (as by exercise) for a test of skill.
Coaching is also referred to as mentoring. The definition of a mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. Mentoring is said to be more relational while coaching is meant to be more structured and transactional. Although the two terms are used interchangeably, there is a difference.
You may have a mentor that you call from time to time to ask for advice. A coach, on the other hand, is someone with whom you would have a scheduled time to dedicate to monitoring and reviewing progress. A coaching relationship is centered around achieving specific goals. For example, a sports coach is focused on wining, a life coach helps to achieve personal goals, and a dating coach would aim for a marriage.
The value of a business coach is most easily compared to that of a sports coach. Every athlete or team, even when they are at the top of their game, has a coach. Nobody gets to the Olympics without a coach! That same athlete or team would not be as successful without a coach. The reason why a coach is instrumental to performance is because they bring an outsider’s viewpoint and shows you things that perhaps you cannot see alone.
Let’s take a tennis coach, for example. He notices your stance and grip from a different viewpoint, perhaps one you cannot see yourself. He helps you correct your stance and grip until it becomes natural to you and your game improves. If you miss a shot, he encourages you to try again. Even if you miss again, you might be one inch closer to getting it over the net. Coaches recognize the progress you are making and they recognize if you repeat bad form. They help you choose the best racket so you perform better. They will expect only the best out of you, they know when to encourage and when to chastise. If you have a tennis coach you will see your game improve.
We can apply these same principles to business coaching. A business coach has an outsider’s point of view and can see things that you as a business owner might not see. He will help you to implement changes in your business and you will then see results. They will support the good behavior and discourage the bad. If you have a coach in your business, you will see your profit increase.
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