I define coaching as an intervention that:

1. Helps a client

  • Move from A to B. This may include helping the client to clarify A and B,
  • Turn theoretic learning into results, and
  • Improve their performance.

2. Uses a ‘coaching style’.

  • encourages the client to think through their own answers,
  • uncovers previous blind spots
  • helps the them take the action they need,
  • means that they end up with a better result, and
  • gives them the skills to plan and act upon future journeys on their own.

While I’ll use a ‘coaching style’ most of the time – because it works – occasionally I’ll use other interventions if I think they’re appropriate.

An important aspect about coaching is that it helps clients turn learning into results.

It’s also useful to differentiate between consultingcoaching, teaching, and mentoring

  • Consulting– we complete a research / discovery phase and give the client the answer. We may be asked to implement it.
  • Coaching– we help the client find their own answer (so they’re in charge). The client implements it, albeit with our help.
  • Teaching– we tell the client the answer.
  • Mentoring– we’ve been there before and the client can learn from our experience.

In theory, coaching is straightforward. In practice, it can be challenging because many of us do not know what we want, and either do not know, or do not want to be realistic about, our current situation.

See Wikipedia on Coaching.

Why coaching works

Coaching gives the client a way of achieving what’s important to them, this means that the client is motivated to be successful. The coach’s role is to:

  • create a safe environment for the client to explore and clarify what they want to achieve,
  • help them develop a plan and success system,
  • help them develop options to move forward,
  • keep the client accountable and focused on priorities and actions,
  • bring a series of proven attitudes, models, processes and techniques that will help them achieve what they want,
  • help the client to connect to and influence their stakeholders,
  • help the client rehearse behaviours for important meetings,
  • help the client make better decisions, and
  • keep the process motivating and (mostly) fun.
What qualities does a client need to be successfully coached?

In any coaching engagement there are (at least) three key influencers

  • The client,
  • The environment
  • The coach.

The coach is important, however often more important is the attitude of the client. The client needs at least a touch of

  • Ambition,
  • Courage,
  • Openness/honesty
  • Discipline

In addition the following states are useful for anyone working with NLP

  • Curiosity,
  • Playfulness,
  • Tenderness
  • Fierceness

As well as all this, the client needs to accept ownership and commit to a certain amount of time, energy and focus to achieve what they want

Coaching helps people achieve their personal and relationship goals through partnered efforts. However, coaching does not substitute or replace the therapy provided by a licensed clinician trained to treat mental, emotional, and psychological disorders. Relationship coaches are specialists in relationships.

The art and science of coaching is to facilitate success for the client without providing advice or “professional opinions.”