What exactly is coaching?

What coaching is:

At best, coaching is a relationship based on partnership. Instead of the coach being “the expert” and providing answers for the client, the client is the expert, and the coach helps the client to become even more of an expert.

The responsibility of the coach is to
  • To clarify and focus the coaching on what the client wants to achieve.
  • promote the self-discovery of the client.
  • Identify solutions and strategies that the client has developed himself.
  • keep the client responsible and accountable.
Coaching Definition

ICF defines coaching as working in partnership with the client in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. Coaches honor clients as experts in their lives and work and believe that each client is creative and resourceful.

There are several other definitions of what coaching is and is not. Here is a brief distinction:

Consultation to be considered:

Individuals or organizations hire consultants based on their expertise. Although consulting approaches vary widely, it is assumed that the consultant diagnoses problems and prescribes and sometimes implements solutions.

Consider mentoring:

A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring can include advice, support and coaching.

Consider training:

Training programmes are based on the objectives set by the trainer or instructor. The training also requires a linear learning path that is consistent with a defined curriculum.

Consider therapy:

The focus is often on resolving past difficulties that hinder an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving general psychological functioning and dealing with the present in an emotionally healthier way.

ICF members have received training to recognise the differences between coaching and therapy and are required by the organisation’s code of ethics to refer potential or current clients to therapists where appropriate.