Your coaching philosophy forms an integral part of you as a coach.
Not having a coaching philosophy can cause detrimental effects on your practice and your growth as a coach. You could lose clients, you could lose focus, and you could lose direction.
But what is a coaching philosophy, and why do you need yours? More importantly, how do you go about creating and implementing it?
Let's dive right in!
What Is A Coaching Philosophy?
A coaching philosophy is a core set of beliefs, values and ideas that a coach has around how transformation is created in his/her clients.
For example, if you are a life coach, you may have the foundational belief that transformation is possible only when your clients look at their life holistically, and not at just one aspect. As a health coach, you may have the belief that your clients need to focus on nutrition as much as on fitness, in order to grow in health and wellbeing.
This concept of having a set of beliefs and ideas which forms someone’s coaching philosophy, originally started years back with football coaches. Football coaches were hired taking into account the kind of philosophy they had.
It has remained similar today in the context of life coaching, executive coaching, business coaching, health coaching, and more.
Why Do You Need A Coaching Philosophy?
The basis for having a philosophy is that it helps inform the client on what they can expect from your coaching. It brings clarity to the conversation, and sets clear expectations.
Lack of clarity is the number one reason why coaching fails, and why you need a coaching philosophy.
This lack of clarity may…
- make it harder for clients to enroll with you;
- create conflict of values between you and your client;
- and hold your client back from following through with your coaching;
By bringing clarity on the table, you can confidently inform your clients about what outcomes they can expect from you. Clients find it a lot more acceptable to work with someone they can connect with, and understand.
3 Ways To Develop A Coaching Philosophy
Now that we have understood what a coaching philosophy is, and why it is so needed for your coaching practice, lets deep dive into how you can actually create one!
There are three different ways to go about doing this:
1. Follow Your Own Philosophy
If you are an experienced coach, this should be easy for you. Use your vast array of experience to craft the basis of your philosophy. Top it up with deep research in your field of coaching. Come up with a philosophy that you are already acquainted with, that will now have a more defined and consolidated edge.
2. Borrow An Existing Philosophy
If you are a new coach, such as someone who’s just starting on your journey, you could borrow a coaching philosophy from successful master coaches. Borrowing an already successful philosophy gives you a foundational stage to launch from.
For example, in our 4-month business coaching certification, we enable our students to adopt a highly successful philosophy that was created by Evercoach Founder Ajit Nawalkha, and tested over many years. This philosophy is based on the Coach-Consultant Approach which stems from the idea that successful business coaching is a combination of great coaching and strategic consulting.
3. Create A New Philosophy
This is the most interesting stage. Once you grow in experience and knowledge, you could create your own philosophy. Merge your experience and research, with the tools of borrowed philosophy. Create something that is truly unique and your own.
How To Create Your Own Philosophy
If you're ready to update your existing philosophy or create your own from scratch, here are some guiding steps that will help you get started:
1. Identify your values.
Our core values are our guiding lights when making everyday decisions and they bring clarity to the most important things in each of our lives. Identify your top 3 to 5 values by asking yourself these questions:
- Which qualities have contributed the most to your success?
- How would you like to be remembered when you leave a room?
- What part of your job do you love the most?
- What is the most rewarding feeling you give to others?
- What qualities are you most proud of?
- What do others say you are good at?
2. Define your beliefs about each value.
Once you have your values clear, identify how these values translate into your coaching. For example, if your top value is love, how does that show up with a client? Is it in the way you build your coach-client relationship? Or in the way you coach?
If your core value is accountability, how do you keep your clients accountable? How is that value reflected in your coaching methodology? Developing this belief system based on your values will bring clarity to your philosophy and style of coaching
3. Craft your philosophy based on your values and beliefs.
It can be written as a mission statement or as bullets, but what's important is to craft a message that clearly communicates your purpose, your values, and your coaching style - combining the elements from steps 1 and 2, and integrating them together.
Don't hesitate to print it out and add it to your vision board as a daily reminder or as inspiration before each coaching session!
Implementing Your Coaching Philosophy
The secret to implementing your philosophy successfully is to have an open outlook towards it.
Your philosophy needs to be adaptive to different situations and changing environments.
Even though your philosophy is deeply rooted in a set of values and beliefs, it has to adapt and update as you grow as a coach.
Most situations can be tackled with strong coaching. And your coaching philosophy informs your client thus setting the tone and tune for your work together.
But as you grow as a coach, your philosophy also has to constantly grow and upgrade.