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What is coaching?

 

Disciplines > Coaching > Articles > What is coaching?

Definitions | Discussion | See also

 

Coaching has many definitions. Here are a few.

Definitions

Informal coaching

Coaching can occur anywhere and at any time. In its simplest form, coaching is where one person helps another by listening or offering advice.

Life coaching

Life coaching is coaching of an individual with the goal of helping them to gain greater fulfilment in their life. This can include:

  • Helping them find purpose and direction
  • Helping them solve particular problems
  • Helping them resolve personal issues and limitations

Executive coaching

Executive coaching is the coaching of business people, particularly senior managers, with the intent of making them more effective in their jobs.

Someone from outside the organization uses psychological skills to help a person develop into a more effective leader. These skills are applied to specific, present-moment work problems in a way that helps this person to incorporate them into his or her permanent management or leadership repertoire.
 --
Bruce Peltier, The Psychology of Executive Coaching

Executive coaches are often both experienced in business and qualified in coaching or a related field. They may have held senior positions themselves or may have gained significant experience in supporting roles (which, after all, is what a coach is).

Discussion

Perhaps the simplest possible definition of coaching is 'helping people succeed'. This is done by helping the person change in some way. At its simplest it is doing or saying something different. At it's deepest and most powerful, it means changing the person's beliefs and values.

From a scan of sources, the following verbs were found in descriptions of coaching:

Supports, explains, demonstrates, instructs, directs, guides, questions, listens, gives feedback, clarifies, explores.

As might be expected, this can be quite rewarding work. It can also be quite lucrative -- top coaches are paid huge sums. Executive coaches are paid most, as their success can make a significant difference to the bottom line of a business. They often charge by the day. Life coaches are constrained by what everyday people can afford and often charge by the hour.

See also

Executive coaching

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