What is Coaching

Coaching is beginning to enjoy mainstream popularity as the personal and professional development tool of choice. Individuals and organizations are beginning to see the value of coaching to help improve performance in work and life. Yet, there are many people who still want to know, “What is Coaching?”

What is coaching?

The best generic definition of coaching is offered by the International Coach Federation (ICF). The ICF describes coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them (clients) to maximize their personal and professional potential”.

At the heart of coaching is the coach’s desire to work with individuals to help them succeed with whatever goals they set out to achieve.

Why do you need a coach?

Well, you don’t. Let’s face it, nothing stops you from going out and taking action to help you achieve your goals right? Think about your favorite sports team, performing artist or even a businessperson you may admire.

None of these individuals need a coach.

Yet, they choose to work with a coach (whether it is a sports coach, voice coach or executive coach) to help them work through challenges, self-limiting believes or strategies so they can succeed in the shortest possible time.

Different Types of Coaching

Coaching has evolved significantly. There are now many different types of coaching and many coaches have begun to specialize in an area in which they would be considered an expert.

The following are some examples of the different types of coaching available.

Life Coaching
This is probably the most generic form of coaching. A life coach will work with you to help you improve your overall satisfaction with life by helping you set specific goals where the focus is on your general satisfaction with life;

Executive Coaching
The focus of executive coaching is primarily on helping individuals in management and leadership positions develop new skills, behaviours and beliefs within the work context;

Business Coaching
The focus of business coaching is on helping business owners improve the functioning of their business operations;

Spiritual Coaching
The primary focus of spiritual coaching will be to help individuals explore their relationship with God or other higher being and how they live their daily lives accordingly;

Life Coaching versus Executive Coaching

While many make a distinction between life coaching and executive coaching, we don’t. We believe that individuals have whole lives and therefore when we coach a manager or senior leader, we will always do so by looking at the larger context of their lives.

In my experience working within organizations, many business executives have valued the opportunity to talk with a coach about getting more personal joy and fulfillment out of life.

In Conclusion

There is no doubt that coaching is a valuable personal or professional development activity. The best way to answer the question, “what is coaching” is to simply see coaching as an opportunity to work with a professional who will help you enjoy even greater success.


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