What Is Coaching?

20 May 2020

Coaching is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people achieve extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations. The relationship between a coach and a willing client is built on respect, safety, challenge and accountability. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance and enhance their quality of life. The purpose of the coaching relationship is to motivate the client to be their absolute best and to achieve extraordinary results in performance and in life. (ICF definition)

What is the difference between business coaching, executive coaching and life coaching?

Business coaches:  generally work with entrepreneurs, business owners, executives and management teams on developing their vision, developing their leadership skills and building a more profitable and efficient business.

Executive coaches:  specialize in working with mid to upper-level executives and owners of companies who desire to accomplish either corporate or personal goals more effectively and efficiently.

Life coaches:  work with individuals on making their personal life and their business life more balanced, successful and satisfying.

How is coaching different from consulting or counselling?

Counselling:  most counselling is centred around healing psychological issues. Generally the patient comes into the counselling relationship seeking to be treated for their “problem.” The psychologist or therapist generally applies a diagnosis that identifies what the patient is struggling with and prescribes a treatment plan.

Consulting:  most consulting relationships are also based on the “expert-student” model. The consultant is the expert. The client is the student. Consulting is generally all about having the right answers.

Coaching:  in coaching there is no diagnosis – there is no “doctor-patient” relationship.  The coaching relationship is a partnership of equals – you and your coach develop a plan of action together. The solution to your “problem,” as defined in coaching, is not found in delving into your past, but focusing on your future. Coaching helps you to maximize your strengths while developing your growth areas. Coaching is all about asking the right questions.  The coach is not seen as the expert, but as a partner. You are the expert on your life and your business. The coach will focus on learning about you and will help you solve problems more effectively and efficiently by asking the right questions.

Why do individuals and companies work with coaches?

There are a wide variety of reasons why individuals and companies work with coaches. Coaches can help you:

  • Learn to be more true to yourself
  • Live life with purpose, passion and integrity
  • Maximize your strengths and abilities
  • Eliminate the blocks that keep you from achieving your best performance
  • Clearly define your vision and develop a strategy to effectively achieve your goals
  • Improve your leadership and/or management skills
  • Deal with conflict in a healthy and beneficial way
  • Achieve a dynamic balance between your personal and professional life
  • Create sustainable and meaningful change in your life and work

How is coaching done?

Coaching generally takes place one-on-one.  Although it is generally preferable to meet in person, coaching sessions can also take place online (via Skype, etc.), telephonically or by email.

How long does the coaching relationship usually last?

The length of the coaching process depends on the client and the goalsthat they have set for themselves. Statistics seem to encourage a coaching relationship of a minimum period of 3 months to fully experience the benefits of coaching.  However, the most beneficial period of time that ensures lasting and sustainable results is an average of 6 months.

The Role of a Coach:

  • A personal navigator for the journey of your life: someone who will help you find your way and stay on course
  • The total focus is on you, on what you want in your life, and on what will help you achieve it. A coach is there to offer you consistent support and encouragement
  • To listen to your words, without judgment, and what’s behind them: with the intention of hearing the said and unsaid
  • To keep you moving forward in your dreams and goals
  • Help you to focus on specific outcomes and stay on track
  • Help you to become accountable for the choices you make
  • Clarify goals and provide you with the tools for action and learning
  • Committed to helping you change
  • Be honest and transparent about where you are strong and where you sell yourself short
  • To look for acts of self-sabotage
  • Remind you of all you can be, do and have
  • Hold the image of your greatest potential – even when you can not hold it yourself
  • Help you become more effective, resourceful, satisfied and productive in your life

Coaching creates a context where you get to regularly work on the most important issues of your life.

It is a place you get to consolidate, to integrate, to think and to push on.

Coaches are active collaborators. The relationship is an alliance between two equals with the purpose of meeting your needs.

Coaching is a powerful coalition designed to forward and enhance the life long process of human learning, effectiveness and fulfillment.

from Shelley Lewin


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