This paper aims to analyze one of the most popular newly emerging labor market services, namely, coaching. Coaches support their clients in a
process of getting to know themselves better in order to achieve optimal results in both their personal and professional lives. In Spain, as the demand for
coaching is increasing, we believe it is important to understand better what coaching is and how it works. We will begin with a discussion of
coaching’s theoretical underpinnings. Next, we will discuss different coaching models and highlight new terms that have appeared in the Spanish
language with the arrival of coaching in Spain. Its goals, different modalities and benefits in the translation industry will also be a focus of
: Translation, teaching, coaching, results
e are currently living in times of dramatic change: seemingly unstoppable technological developments, economic and moral crises, climate change, and an
ultra-competitive labor market. Under these circumstances, stress, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and even loss of confidence have become more
prevalent in the population. In Spain, many people are requesting coaching services as a result of these challenges to their mental health, even in
times of crisis (La Vanguardia, 2012).
The goal of coaching is to support people in a process of self-discovery in order to maximize their potential to achieve both personal and professional
Translation professionals in particular face a high risk of stress and other related challenges to their mental health because they spend most of their
time working alone, under rigid deadlines and under rate-driven, highly competitive circumstances.
2. Brief history of coaching
There are several theories regarding the origins of coaching. The most prevalent one maintains (Sarmiento, 2011) that one of the basic techniques used by
coaches first appeared about one thousand years ago in Ancient Greece when the philosopher Socrates promoted dialogue to achieve knowledge, thus helping
his disciples to reach the truth. His innovation changed the practice of pedagogy, “wherein a teacher questions a student in a manner that draws out
the correct response” (University Press Inc. 2012-2013).
The goal of coaching is to support people in a process of self-discovery.
In the 1970s, coaching emerged as the discipline we know today. Timothy Gallway realized then that an athlete’s worst enemy was his or her own
thinking. So he wrote several books to help athletes overcome mental blocks and at the same time, compete at a high level of performance. From that moment
on, coaching began to succeed because the benefits of the coaching “intervention” were so tangible. Several athletic schools, called Inner Game, were created. Two of these schools were established in Europe at the initiative and under the direction of Sir John Whitmore. Some time
later, he successfully adapted and introduced this activity into the British labor market. The result was the current discipline called executive coaching. Thomas J. Leonard, who is considered the father of modern coaching, then opened this activity to other fields and personal or life coaching was born (Sarmiento, 2011).
Another theory about the origin of coaching is found in the definition of the word coach, given by Oxford Dictionary, which traces its origin to the
mid-16th century. It comes from French coche, or from the Hungarian kocsi (wagon) from Kocs, a town in Hungary. In short, a coach is a means
At the beginning, when coaching first appeared in the world of sports, top athletes were the only ones who could afford this high-priced service.
This has changed, and coaching has emerged as a promising career path.
3. Defining coaching. The arrival of new terms in Spanish
Coaching is not a new discipline, but it is still unknown to many people. According to the International Coach Federation (henceforth ICF), professional
coaching is both a philosophy and an activity that aims to define objectives, to identify possible obstacles that may interfere with our goals and finally,
to overcome them. One of the main objectives of coaching is to make coachees more self-aware and able to respond to their emotions in a more
Coaching is often confused with other “helping” modalities like therapy (from the discipline of psychology) and mentoring.
Therapy is a highly regulated practice that focuses on the past of patients to identify and treat the causes of their problems.
The Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (henceforth DRAE) defines psychology (psicología in Spanish) as: “Ciencia que
estudia los procesos mentales en personas y en animales.” Along the same lines, Cambridge Dictionary establishes that psychology is “The
scientific study of the way the human mind works and how it influences behavior, or the influence of a particular person’s character on their
behavior.” However, mentoring is a neologism that could be translated as mentoría (at least, this is our suggestion) in Spanish,
but it is not often used, nor is it included in DRAE. It is used to refer to a non-regulated discipline practiced by experienced professionals who give
advice to an inexperienced, most often younger, person. If we look for the word "mentor" instead of "mentoring" in DRAE, we find that mentor, ra,
comes from Greek mythology: Mentor (Μέντωρ, Méntor), that is a character in The Odyssey, more
accurately, the advisor of Telemachus (Τηλέμαχος, Télemakhos). That is why its meaning is
“consejero o guía.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term mentor as follows: “to help and give advice to someone who has
less experience than you, especially in your job.” But, as explained above, the confusion between a coach and a mentor is frequent. According to
Merriam Webster, mentor can be: “2. b: tutor, coach.”
In short, what these three modalities (coaching, mentoring, and therapy) have in common is that they deal with emotions, but from different points of view.
(What are they about?)
(How do they work?)
(Period of time taken into account)
(Who plays the main role?)
Has expertise in a concrete field
advises and guides their mentees
Builds client’s self-awareness and other skills to achieve goals
observes and encourages coachees to meet their objectives
present à future
Psychological counseling for patients to improve their lives
studies the human mind and behavior and diagnoses their patients
Mira Rueda, C. Main differences between monitoring, coaching and therapy.
These novel and trendy disciplines (coaching and mentoring) in Spain come with new terms for the Spanish language. Most of these new terms
are not officially established in the Spanish language, nor are they included in its most popular dictionaries. Next, we are going to show the current
status of these English terms in the Spanish dictionary, DRAE:
Mira Rueda, C. The situation of terms related to coaching and mentoring in the DRAE in 2013.
The Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts (henceforth DPD) of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language includes the term coach. It defines it as:
‘persona que prepara o adiestra a otra en algo, especialmente en la práctica de un deporte’ (person who prepares or trains another person
in something, in particular in the practice of a sport) and comes from English. DPD recommends the use of other Spanish words, whose meanings are similar,
i.e. entrenador and preparador.
Another linguistic problem that we find, this time in the English language, is the term coachee. Even the Microsoft text processor underlines the
word, as if it were a mistake. It is not included in the online versions of major English dictionaries such as the Oxford Dictionary or Merriam Webster.
It is only a matter of time before all these new terms become established in the languages of the countries where these disciplines are practiced.
4. How coaching works
According to the Spanish Charter Chapter of ICF, professional coaching consists of an ongoing professional relationship whose aim is to support clients in
achieving optimal results in their personal and professional lives. The coaching process allows coachees to deepen their self-knowledge, increase their
efficiency, and improve their quality of life.
In each session, coachees choose the conversation topics. Once the agenda is set, the coach listens and contributes with observations and questions. This
is an interactive and transparent method designed to give the coachee full responsibility for taking action that is grounded in the coachee’s
resources and strengths. By providing a strong focus on the client’s agenda and encouraging deepening self-awareness, coaching can support clients in
moving forward efficiently and effectively in achieving their objectives.
Coaching takes as starting point the coachee’s current situation and focuses on what coachees are willing to do to arrive where they would like to be
in the future. To achieve this goal, they must be aware that their results depend on their intentions, choices, and actions. They will not do all this work
by themselves; coaches will support them.
The responsibilities of a coach are the following (Cuadernos de Coaching, 2008):
To discover, clarify and articulate the coachee’s goals.
To stimulate self-discovery.
To co-design solutions and strategies with the coachee.
To encourage the coachee to take responsibility for his progress and to notice the impact of his attitude.
In short, a coach guides a coachee in a process to help them achieve their goals. More broadly, coaching is designed to help you uncover your potential and
encourage you to grow through guided self-discovery. As a result, coachees often feel more motivated and more connected to the future they want to create
5. Types of coach
Since Thomas Leonard started to develop the idea of life coaching, as we mentioned above, coaching has broadened its scope of action. New
types of coaching have emerged to meet new social challenges, among them:
I. Personal development and wellness
Personal or life-coaching [coaching personal or coaching de vida]
Health Coaching [coaching para la salud]
Executive coaching [coaching ejecutivo or empresarial or executive-coaching]
Group coaching [coaching de equipos or de grupos]
Leadership coaching [coaching de liderazgo]
Business Coaching [coaching empresarial o de negocios]
Organizational Coaching [coaching organizacional]
Coaching for Entrepreneurs [coaching para emprendedores]
Sports/Athletic Coaching [coaching deportivo]
Educational Coaching [coaching educativo]
Language Coaching [coaching lingüístico]
Translator/Translation Coaching [coaching para traductores]
6. Translation profession and its risks
Translators belong to a profession that puts them at a high risk for developing mental health problems. Many people believe that being a translator (that
is, a freelance translator) is an easy and comfortable career, owing to a number of positive aspects of the profession, such as a flexible work schedule,
no boss breathing down your neck, no fixed place to work, i.e. you can work from a remote paradise island or at home, and, few office protocols, so you can
even work in your pajamas. Although many think that translators mostly spend time with their computers, few people really appreciate the concerted effort
involved in producing expert translations. .
The truth is that being a freelance translator also means:
Working long stretches of time alone.
Bearing a lot of responsibility to complete the job, often alone.
Dealing with tight and often unreasonable deadlines.
Balancing professional and personal lives.
Frequent stress and even depression.
No fixed work schedule, often leading to overwork
Lack of job security.
Stiff competition owing to constant downward pressure on rates
In spite of everything, many translators meet the challenge because they love languages, culture, communication and mostly, people.
7. Benefits of coaching for translators
If we consider the above-mentioned negative aspects of the job, translators may benefit greatly from working with a coach. In fact, it is highly
recommended not only for professional translators, interpreters and linguists, but also for students of translation, interpreting, and foreign languages.
According to the ICF, general benefits of coaching can be divided into two categories:
- Improved work performance
- Improved business management
- Improved time management
- Improved team effectiveness
- Improved self-confidence
- Improved relationships
- Improved communication skills
- Improved life/work balance
Coaching for translators is becoming popular and increasingly accessible on the net. Some examples of companies offering coaching:
Alison Carroll Coaching (2011)
Alison Carroll is a former translator and interpreter (native English, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish) who ran an independent translation
company for over 15 years focusing on business and legal documents and topics related to international development. She also worked as a clinical
interpreter in Portuguese. She trained in ontological coaching with the Newfield Network and is now a Cross Cultural/Transitions Coach. She is accredited
by the Center for Credentialing in Education as a Board Certified Coach (BCC), the ICF at the ACC level and Success Unlimited Network as a Life Purpose
Coach. On her website, you will find different levels of services depending on the goals of the coachee.
Triacom is a translation company located in Germany. It was founded in 1984 by Per N. Dohler (Trained Linguist (MA). Since 1992, Thea Dohler (Degree in
Business Administration and Ph. D. in Education) is part of the team. Among all their services, they offer seminars, coaching and consultations for
freelance linguists and translation companies since 2000.
Nicole Y. Adams (NYA communications, 2003-2013)
She is a translator, editor and business coach who offers Translator Coaching, Training and Mentoring. On her website, we can fin her tailor-made
TransBizBoost translator coaching packages. There are four you can choose, depending on your needs.
Communications Syllabus (2009-2013)
Communication Syllabus is a translation company in Canada that offers several services like adaptation, revision, writing, translation, and language
services, among others. Do not overlook the Did You Know? Section on the website, where you'll find an article about life coaching for translators.
Efficient Language Coaching (henceforth ELC)
ELC is a company based in Germany and founded in 2008 by Rachel Marie Paling (UK Lawyer, MA in Human Rights and Democratization, BA Honours in Law and
Spanish, and Certified coach). It is the first Language Coaching Certification in the world.
According to the creator: “Language Coaching is the efficient and fast transfer of language knowledge from the Language Coach to the Language Coachee
with sustainable effects facilitated by brain-based coaching and coaching principles.”
Xosé Castro Roig, course: Coaching para traductores (Nathalie Fernández Cubas, Blog: Traducir para contarlo, 2012)
Nathalie Fernández Cubas is a Spanish translator who wrote a detailed article entitled “1001 Consejos de Xosé Castro en el curso de
Coaching para traductores” (1001 Advice of Xosé Castro in his course: Coaching for translators) about the course, Coaching for translators, taught by Xosé Castro Roig. He is a Spanish Lecturer, (audiovisual, computing and finance) translator and
journalist. He has been one of the pioneers of coaching for translators in Spain.
Other depictions of coaching in the popular media include the Academy Award-winning film The King’s Speech (2010) directed by Tom
Hooper, conversation with a Spanish politician (Alberto Fabra) who has recently talked publicly about his experience with coaching and finally, a Spanish
TV host (Christian Gálvez) who is the author of a recently-released book, Tienes Talento (You have talent). These last two examples
demonstrate how popular coaching is becoming in Spain. And there are other examples such as the Asociación Española de Coaching (2000), Coaching Madrid and Uturn English Language Coaching.
In fact, according to ICF, there are more than 600 professional coaches in Spain. It is ranked third, just behind Switzerland and United Kingdom, in having
the highest number of accredited professional coaches.
But what are the benefits of coaching for translator?
What coaching and mentoring can do for translators (NYA communications, 2003-2013):
Assist new translators with setting up and developing their business.
Train professional translators in new computer-assisted translation software.
Provide tips on time management, networking, marketing and social media.
Coaching can also help professional translators/interpreters/linguists and students in different ways by:
Empowering them to believe in themselves and develop self-awareness and self-esteem.
Listening to their needs and goals and empowering them to move forward.
Helping them to identify problems, fears and obstacles that interfere with their goals (e.g. speaking used to be the most difficult challenge
for students of a new foreign language, professional interpreting can also be quite scary for recently graduated interpreters, etc.).
Co-designing strategies to overcome these obstacles.
Supporting coachees in their declarations of yes or no to challenges and helping them to face the consequences of their decisions.
Encouraging coachees to pursue excellence and take credit for excellent work .
Showing them how important respect and trust are in relationships.
Preparing coachees to deal with difficult situations, i.e. clients who will not pay.
Helping them enjoy and balance their professional and personal lives.
Encouraging coachees to improve their effectiveness and productivity by trying new ways to approach work with lightness and curiosity.
Co-authoring approaches to work that support a healthy lifestyle.
Supporting them in achieving their goals.
As we can see, there are many benefits of coaching for linguists, translators, and interpreters. That is one of the reasons that professional coaching is
becoming such a popular career. Some high-level executive coaches are also well-paid. So, if you are a linguist, translator, interpreter or student and you
would like to work as a professional coach, you need to know that an official accreditation is required. For more information, please visit official
coaching sites, like: ICF, Escuela Europea de Coaching, AC Association for Coaching, EMCC UK European Mentoring & Coaching Council, among others.
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Language Coaching Certification
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