The Art, Science, and Practice of Coaching – Part 1

Blueline is delighted to introduce guest blogger Kate McLagan. Over the next three weeks, Kate will define “The Art, Science, and Practice of Coaching.” Read on for Part 1: The Art of Coaching.

Coaching has been a buzzword in business for some time now. Historically, the evolution of coaching has been influenced by many fields of study such as personal development, adult education, psychology, and sports. In the last few decades, learning and development have become critical features of businesses and organizations as they confront rapid changes in the global marketplace. The traditional training model is being challenged on the grounds that is does not result in sustained behavioral change. Today, coaching for business and public institutions is multiplying at an extraordinary rate.

So, what is coaching?

Coaching is the act of providing positive support and feedback through focused learning to an individual (or group) in order to help them recognize ways in which they can improve their effectiveness in the business.

In addition to defining what coaching is, we must also look at what coaching is not. Giving advice, judging, counseling, therapy, managing, mentoring, and training are not the same as coaching.

Part 1: The Art of Coaching
Contrary to some attractive claims in, for example, The One Minute Manager, there are no quick fixes in business! Good coaching is a skill or an art that requires a depth of understanding and plenty of practice to deliver its potential.

Coaching is essentially a conversation or a dialogue between a coach and a coachee within a productive, results oriented context. Coaching involves helping individuals access what they know, unlock potential, identify and define goals, and facilitate growth and development.

The Art of Coaching comes in energizing, inspiring and guiding the coachee through:

  • Questioning effectively. The art of questioning generates awareness and responsibility.
  • Listening. Hear their tone of voice, read body language, reflect back and summarize points, and “listen” for self-awareness.
  • Observing. This step is essential to know when to check in, facilitating the process further along and looking for honesty.

Tune in next week for Part 2: The Science of Coaching.

Contact us at Blueline for a free 5-day trial of Mastering Management: Coaching.

Kate McLagan has more than 20 years of business experience in various leadership and consulting roles. She has guided her clients through significant organizational change and led a variety of workforce development and performance management initiatives to achieve business objectives. Kate has significant experience in the high tech industry providing services in leadership development, change management, corporate training, executive coaching and career management execution. Kate may be reached at

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