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Abraham Maslow once said that human potential is, for all intents and purposes, infinite. We each have the capacity for greatness.
There are many forms of assistance in helping individuals reach their potential. These include training, teaching, mentoring, guiding, and coaching.
The term "coaching" is used widely with a variety of meanings and connotations. In some cases, similar to sports team coaches, the term is used to reflect a more directive approach. In this connotation, supervisors, peers, and others can, and hopefully do, indeed provide coaching.
In contrast, Professional Coaching (or Co-Active Coaching), is a carefully and uniquely designed alliance between the coach and the participant that has a single purpose - to achieve the established goals for the participant. The coach has no other agenda. The relationship between the coach and the participant is non-judgmental, based on honesty and trust. This approach has been demonstrated to achieve more rapid and sustainable performance improvement than any other approach.
Each approach has value and can be used to develop a specific development and growth plan tailored to each individual. What is most important is to find the specific combination of approaches that are most effective for each individual so that the established goals are achieved.
The same principles apply to coaching groups or teams, with of course incorporating the group dynamic into the coaching process. All of the same elements apply given the shift of focus from an individual participant to the group. The coach must now facilitate achieving clarity of purpose with the group as a critical first step. And action plans for change must be facilitated through engagement of the group.