Arlington, Va. (AFNS) —
A new Department of the Air Force website supports the development of a coaching culture throughout the service by offering a variety of resources tailored to the needs of Airmen and Guardians.
At the Department of the Air Force’s Coaching site, members can explore how to find a professional coach and become a coach. Additional resources are available to support the development of the DAF’s internal coaching culture.
Coaching is a structured, formalized, goal-oriented process where a certified coach focuses on helping individuals overcome specific challenges, develop new skills and reach desired outcomes. Coaches employ active listening, powerful questioning, and feedback tools and techniques, empowering individuals to find their own solutions to certain challenges and build self-awareness.
“Coaching is a crucial component for our Total Force development ecosystem,” said Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services. “It empowers our members to unlock their greatest potential, generate personal growth and better contribute to the service’s mission.”
Katharine Kelley, deputy chief of space operations for Human Capital, expanded on coaching culture’s benefit to the DAF.
“Coaching is an investment that will pay dividends for our people,” she said. “It challenges members to self-reflect on their strengths and grow in new ways personally and professionally.”
According to Crystal Moore, director of Air Force Force Development, coaching and mentoring have key differences that each contribute to individual growth.
“It’s essential to understand the difference between coaching and mentoring to maximize the capabilities of both methodologies,” Moore said. “Mentoring is a relationship-based approach that centers on sharing knowledge, experience and advice while helping mentees achieve their career goals. Mentoring relationships may be longer-term and address a broad range of personal and professional growth areas. A coach encourages individuals to develop their own approaches to a challenge through thoughtful questioning and are shorter-term in nature.”
Moore summarized the techniques’ divergence by illustrating a difference in the guide’s role.
“Essentially, a mentor talks to you with advice; a coach empowers you,” she said.
While mentoring is the more familiar practice in the DAF, creating a coaching culture can enhance efforts to develop the total force.
The services believe coaching can significantly impact one’s professional and personal life. A coach’s objective guidance can help individuals overcome challenges, develop new skills and achieve desired outcomes more efficiently. Coaching can also foster self-awareness and resilience, enabling Airmen and Guardians to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing environment.
Leadership recognizes that becoming a coach requires dedication, training and a genuine desire to help others grow. Coaches enhance the force’s effectiveness and adaptability by assisting others to realize their potential.
“Through coaching, the services can foster a culture of continuous growth, ensuring our members are ready to face any challenges and uphold our Air and Space Superiority,” Miller said.