I’ve got this big idea. It involves articulating coaching and then training it at scale.

Why? Well at the most basic level, I believe that if I know something will make a massive difference, it would be unethical not to share it

But first I have to articulate coaching. It’s hard to describe, but very powerful to experience.

You won’t be prepared to experience it unless you know what it is: chicken and egg.

So, I have to describe it.

Life is a conversation

Twenty-five years ago, my first coach said to me, “Life is a conversation”.

“What does that mean?” I said.

He said, “Dave, think about it,” and I have ever since.

This is where I have got to.

In business, people want to be successful, whatever success means to them.

I think your capacity for success equals the conversations you are having minus the conversations you are not having, multiplied by the way you are having them, or not.

The way you have conversations is a multiplier. You might have something great to say, but say it in the wrong way and it backfires.

Coaching enables effective conversations.

Enlisting the help of great coaches

After years of thinking about it, I really get that coaching is a great way to have conversations. If everyone was a coach it would transform business.

I enlisted ten coaches from the Trusted Coach Directory to help me get to the essence of coaching, what’s it really about.

We only had an hour so I asked them to ‘bottom line’ it. That meant using no more than six words to complete the following sentence: “Coaching is really about …”

After ten minutes in pairs, each typed their six words into virtual post-it notes on Jamboard and we clustered and named the four themes that emerged: Enabling with safety, Growth, Raising Awareness and Skilled Partnering.

People need to feel safe to operate at their best

Great coaches create and hold a safe and authentic place for people to do their best thinking and work out their way forward. Coaches enable safety.

Coaching is future focused: it’s about getting from where you are now to where you want to be – growth.

Coaching is about raising self-awareness in the situation and then raising responsibility to act on it to move forward.

And coaching is a partnership between coach and person or persons, in team coaching, to generate and develop new thinking, because old thinking leads to more of the same.

And more of the same rarely leads to different, better outcomes. The coach listens and asks questions that promote deep reflection – this is highly skilled partnering.

I think that’s the essence of coaching

We could have talked all day and a lot longer. After all, coaching is our vocation and business.

But given one hour I think we got close to the essence of coaching, describing it in a way that I’m hoping is easier to understand.

In our conversations, it was one of the coaches who said “coaching is difficult to describe though powerful to experience”.

I really relate to that. It can take ages to explain to prospective customers and, for them, coaching can be such a leap of faith, even though once we start things move quickly and their results are remarkable.

My big idea, however, is about scaling coaching. To spend ages with thousands of prospects is more than a lifetime.

I need to be able to articulate coaching in a way that connects. Helped by my Trusted Coach Directory colleagues I think this is a big step forward.

If you can nail “coaching” better than we have I’d love to hear from you, especially if you have been on the receiving end.

Leadership Team Coach Dave Stitt works with construction industry executives and project teams enabling them to deliver remarkable results in a remarkable way.

Read more blogs from Dave – Approaching coaching: two book reviews by my son