36 EXECUTIVE COACHING the analysis of the past but are oriented towards the future, looking for solutions and possibilities. Coaching is not a friendly conversation either, because it has a clear structure - coaching tools are used and it focuses only on the topic of the coachee. So what is coaching? ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. I tend to compare coaches to sherpas. They will help you climb Mont Blanc with reasonable risk and time. They can give you their hand, throw a rope, encourage you when you’re tired, look for sources of strength when you want to give up, but they never climb instead of you. You have to do it yourself. And why Mont Blanc? Because you chose it as a client yourself. If you want to climb the Gran Paradiso, they will go there with you. What characterises business and executive coaching? It must be said that the tools and competencies of a coach do not differ whether it is business, life, career, performance, family and relationship or other types of coaching. We understand coaching as an approach that uses tools and concentrates on the client. The coach does not have to be an expert on a given topic – their role is not to give advice. Professional and certified coaches can conduct a coaching session regardless of the focus and topic/work or private. However, a coach may indeed have preferences in which area they prefer. This whether the goals we set for this week were met, how I could help them, advise...” “I understand. And who determines the topic of the interview?” “It is specified in advance. We have a company manual for that...” I don’t even know if I was or wasn’t surprised by this answer. Many managers really try to support their people a lot. Help them, advise, pass on experience. They do a perfect and useful job. However, it is not coaching in the true sense of the word, as defined by professional institutions such as ICF - International Coaching Federation. To put it simply, I’ll probably start with what is not coaching, and it’s often called coaching: It is not mentoring, training, counselling, consulting, assessment or a friendly meeting. The coach is not a mentor because they do not provide personal advice and experience in a specific area and company. The coach is not even an employee of a particular company, as a mentor usually is. They are not even a consultant, because they do not provide ready-made solutions based on e.g. legislation such as legal or tax advice. A coach is not a trainer/lecturer because they do not pass on generally valid knowledge, skills and experience for a group of people. They are not even a therapist because they work with healthy people who want to develop further. They do not focus on is also the case with business, leadership or executive coaching, which focuses on the development of managers and executives at all levels. Why do managers need a coach? The managerial peak is very often referred to as a very lonely peak. So, rarely, if at all, does a manager have someone to talk to, share his worries, often doubts, and make sure their intentions and decisions are correct. They are set up for performance, they are required to make decisions and they often must do it right away. Supervisors and shareholders need results, colleagues at the same level are like competitors and also have their worries. Subordinates need a determined and competent boss. For this reason, the best choice is often an external coach who is not burdened by corporate blindness and with whom they can talk honestly about things happening within the company. Managers often refer to coaching sessions as a space and an opportunity to meet themselves. The whole conversation is just about them and their current reality. What is the difference between an independent coachprofessional and a coachmanager? At first glance, it seems that a manager in the role of a coach has great advantages when compared to an independent coach. This advantage is a perfect knowledge of the work environment, goals and direction of the organisation. They also know the people they coach.