Choosing a coach that is right for you: The 7 Levels of Coaching

Choosing a coach that is right for you: The 7 Levels of Coaching

In almost 23 years of being in the coaching industry and working with over 880 business owners and entrepreneurs, we have noticed many changes in the field of coaching.

The purpose of this article is to:

  1. Define coaching
  2. Outline its evolution
  3. Describe the levels of coaching available in the marketplace
  4. The future of coaching
  5. Help you select a coach that is appropriate for your situation.

Coaching definition

The word coaching comes from the Hungarian kocsi, short for kocsi szekér, cart of Kocs, a town on the main road between Vienna and Budapest. In this sense, a coach was something that took people from point A to point B, faster than one could go by walking.

Over time, the meaning of the word evolved to tutoring, from the conception of the tutor as one who carries the student through examinations.

Today, in the public consciousness, coaches are most often frequently associated in the field of sports – whether hockey, football, tennis or any other competitive sport. Everyone “knows” that to win a coach is required.

In the field of business, coaching is a relatively new phenomenon, with business coaching coming to the foreground as a distinction in the late 1980’s.

At RSC Business Group we define coaching as an evolutionary, permission-based process that:

  • Develops environments in which individuals, businesses and organizations are powerfully enabled to move through physical reality (beginning, middle and end)
  • Enhances what is present, without changing what’s so
  • Takes effective actions to a specific and measurable final destination

To date in our practice we have distinguished seven levels of coaching for individuals and businesses which we will go into further detail in this article.

The key for coaching is that it is not survival based, however most people seek out a coach when things are not working very well. Can you imagine athletes getting a coach only when they are not performing?

The Evolution of Coaching

In the early days of modern coaching (early 1980’s) the focus was on “take actions to get results” – because without action nothing happens. By the early 1990’s the approach expanded to include the strategy of “increase your range of competencies and you’ll get better results.” By the early 2000’s the coaching approach expanded to include the notion of “crafting environments in order to accelerate the outcomes.” All three approaches can be effective and well-trained coaches are facile with all three approaches.

The Levels of Coaching

The easiest way to describe the levels of coaching is through a simple narrative.

Clearing Coach

In the beginning, we all have a dream or a desire to be where we are not. That dream may not be crystal clear, or we may not be able to articulate how we are going to get there. At this stage a Clearing Coach can be an effective partner, as they clarify, and bring to the foreground where a person is and where they want to go. The core distinction of a Clearing Coach is listening, the basis of all of the other coaching levels.

Once things are clear, and the final destination is identified, the evolutionary process of coaching continues.

Foundation Coach

A Foundation Coach, will work with people who want to work on areas of life that are not necessarily related to their business, or making money, however are essential to creating an environment where monetary results can be produced. To have a foundation for a life that works is a gift, and it is a required step to being someone that can be held accountable and producing results as an individual. At this stage, people learn key operational distinctions that make life work, and begin to set up structures such that they can be held accountable to begin producing monetary results beyond what they thought was possible.

Accountability Coach

Accountability coaches, simply put, hold people to account to what they say and teach people about the power of agreements and being a person of integrity. “Your life will work to the degree that you keep your agreements.” When people begin a coaching process about 30% of what they say happens in their life. For example, someone may say, I want to make $10,000.00 and consistently make $3,000.00. As they become more accountable they are able to keep the promise of $10,000.00 and then make larger promises and fulfill on those larger promises.

Naturally, this requires the development of a business as an individual can only fulfill on a limited number of promises.

Business Coach

When the number of promises exceeds an individual’s capacity, this is where a Business Coach, for the first time in the coaching process, is truly required. An effective Business Coach will work with small teams of 3 to 5 people, and has the capacity to restructure a business to make it more profitable and viable. At this stage people learn the vocabulary of business so they understand how to operate the machinery of the business they are running. There are literally dozens of practical business distinctions that are covered including planning, marketing and sales, business and art, money and finance etc. So, while an accountability coach is ideal for individuals or independent professionals who need to be held accountable to take consistent action, a business coach works with a team of people to produce results collectively.

Executive Coach

For those people who are successful with their business coach and become effective at building teams, they will move to the next level in their development and start work with an Executive Coach. Executives are people who can be held accountable for the results of multiple teams, and require an advanced education in business models, systems and being someone who can “hold the space” of an environment such that results can be produced even when they are not there. Executives build relationships and work on larger and larger deals for their organization.

Master Coach

For those few executives, who want to fully replace themselves from their position, a Master Coach will support them in their work to have a self-sustaining organization. The conversations at this level are at a level of expansion and making a global impact.

Source Coach

Source Coaches work with established Business Owners and Entrepreneurs who own multiple businesses and are operating inside of an eternal mission to fulfill in the world. They are fully committed to working on lifetime initiatives and projects that are designed to leave a powerful, positive legacy.

The future of coaching

Put beside mature fields such as law or medicine, coaching is a relatively new field, however one thing is clear: coaching is here to stay. The contribution of this field and its value to individuals, businesses and organizations is invaluable.

Coaching’s evolution today is driven by the Conceptual Age where right brain thinking, and qualities such as compassion, creativity, and skills such as listening, being objective are increasingly required for today’s business world. We see coaching being fully integrated into society, where teams, groups, businesses and organizations will operate from foundational coaching methodologies and generate environments where exceptional results are normal.

Selecting a coach

With this overview of coaching, you are now better equipped to select a coach that is best suited for your situation, whether you just want to get clear about where you are in life (Clearing Coaching), build a foundation for your future, (Foundation Coaching) or build an organization with multiple teams (Executive Coaching), there is a coach out there that is right for you.

We will leave you with some questions that you can ask a coach to start a conversation.

  1. What is your definition of coaching?
  2. What inspires you about being a coach?
  3. How do you work with your clients? (Phone, in-person, frequency)
  4. What are some of the results that you have produced for your clients?
  5. What are your values?
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