This article refers to the act of coaching people. For other uses of the word, see Coach (disambiguation).

Coaching, with a professional coach, is the practice of supporting an individual, referred to as a coachee or client, through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result. The structure and methodologies of coaching are numerous but are predominantly facilitating in style; that is to say that the coach mainly asks questions and challenges the coachee to find answers from within based on their values, preferences and unique perspective. Coaching is differentiated from therapeutic and counseling disciplines since clients are considered healthy and move forward from the present. There are a variety of approaches within the coaching methodology. Coaching is performed with individuals and groups, in person, over the phone and online.

The facilitative approach to coaching in sport was pioneered by Timothy Gallwey[citation needed]; before this sports coaching was (and often remains) solely a skills-based learning experience from a master in the sport. Other contexts for coaching include executive coaching, life coaching, emotional intelligence coaching and wealth coaching.

Today, coaching is widespread. For example, Newcastle College registered 15,000 students on its Performance Coaching Diploma Course from launch and within its first four years[citation needed]. The UK's Chartered Institute of Personnel Management reports [1] that 51% of companies (sample of 500) 'consider coaching as a key part of learning development' and 'crucial to their strategy', with 90% reporting that they 'use coaching'. More recent research in 2011 by Qa Research, an independent marketing research agency in the UK, found that 80% of organisations surveyed had used or are now using coaching, but also found that while 90% of organisations with over 2,000 employees had used coaching in the past five years, only 68% of companies with 230-500 employees had done the same.[2]. The basic skills of coaching are often developed in managers within organizations specifically to improve their managing and leadership abilities, rather than to apply in formal one-to-one coaching sessions. These skills can also be applied within team meetings and are then akin to the more traditional skills of group facilitation.


Coach Certification Organizations

There are several independent certifying bodies for life and business coaches. Each one requires coaches to adhere to a Code of Ethics. The better known independent coach certifying bodies include:

  1. International Coach Federation (ICF), established 1995
  2. International Association of Coaching (IAC), established 2003
  3. Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC), established 1997
  4. The Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE), established 2000 with the addition of a coach certification in 2011.

The main difference among these four certifying bodies are:

  1. ICF certification is based on education completed, number of paid coaching hours, references, and continuing education.
  2. IAC certification is based solely on passing a series of exams. The IAC certification does not require completion of any particular training program or number of hours of coaching.
  3. WABC certification is aimed exclusively at the business coaching industry
  4. The CCE certification specifically for coaching is based on experience, training hours, references, and continuing education.


The first use of the term coaching to mean an instructor or trainer arose around 1830 in Oxford University slang for a tutor who "carries" a student through an exam.[3] The first use of the term in relation to sports came in 1831.[3]

Historically the evolution of coaching has been influenced by many other fields of study including those of personal development, adult education, psychology (sports, clinical, developmental, organizational, social and industrial) and other organizational or leadership theories and practices. Since the mid-1990s, coaching has developed into a more independent discipline and professional associations such as the International Coach Federation have helped develop a set of training standards[dubious ] [4].


There are many definitions of coaching, mentoring and various styles of line management and training[5].

The position is complicated by the perceived overlap between many of these activities. A more succinct definition positions coaching as follows:[citation needed]

Managing is making sure people do what they know how to do. Training is teaching people to do what they don’t know how to do. Mentoring is showing people how the people who are really good at doing something do it. Coaching is none of these – it is helping to identify the skills and capabilities that are within the person, and enabling them to use them to the best of their ability.

Professional coaching uses a range of communication skills (such as targeted restatements) to help clients shift their perspectives and thereby discover different solutions to achieve their goals. These skills are used when coaching clients in any field. In this sense, coaching is a form of meta-profession that can apply to accompanying clients in any human endeavor, ranging from their concerns in sports and personal, professional, social, family, political, spiritual dimensions, etc.

Life coaching

Life coaching is a practice that helps people identify and achieve personal goals. Life coaches help clients set and reach goals using a variety of tools and techniques. Life coaches are not therapists nor consultants; psychological intervention and business analysis are outside the scope of their work. Life coaching draws inspiration from disciplines including sociology, psychology, positive adult development, career counseling, mentoring and other types of counseling. Contemporary life coaching can be traced to teachings of Benjamin Karter, a college football coach turned motivational speaker of the late 1970s and early 1980s.[6]

Coach-training schools and programs are available, providing many options for the individual who wants to gain certification in the field of life-coaching. Many certificates and credential designations are available within the industry.[7]

Critics contend that life coaching is akin to psychotherapy without restrictions, oversight, or regulation. The Colorado General Assembly, after holding a hearing on such concerns, asserted that coaching is unlike therapy because it does not focus on examining nor diagnosing the past.[8]

ADHD coaching

ADHD coaching is a specialized type of life coaching that uses specific techniques geared toward working with the unique brain wiring of individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Coaches work with clients to help them better manage time, organize, set goals and complete projects. In addition to helping clients understand the impact ADHD has had on their lives, coaches can help clients develop "work-arounds" strategies to deal with specific challenges, and determine and use individual strengths. Coaches also help clients get a better grasp of what reasonable expectations are for them as individuals, since people with ADHD "brain wiring" often seem to need external mirrors for accurate self-awareness about their potential despite their impairment.[9]

Business coaching

In business, coaching refers to a method of personal development or human resource development. This field of coaching is becoming a distinct area of practice for individuals and in organizations[citation needed]. A casual business practice of coaching is the act of providing positive support and feedback while offering occasional advice to an individual or group in order to help them recognize ways in which they can improve the effectiveness of their business. This can be provided in a number of ways, including one-on-one, group coaching sessions and large scale organizational work. Business coaches often specialize in different practice areas such as executive coaching, corporate coaching and leadership coaching.

At least three organizations, the International Coach Federation, the International Coaching Council and the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches provide a membership-based association for professionals involved in business coaching. These and other organizations train professionals to offer business coaching to business owners who may not be able to afford large coaching firm prices.[10] According to a MarketData Report in 2007, it is estimated that 40,000 people in the U.S. work as business or life coaches, and the $2.4 billion business coaching market is growing at about 18% per year.[11] Business coaching was also reported as being one of the fastest growing industries in the world, following the IT industry, by the National Post.[12]

Coaching is not a practice restricted to external experts or providers. Many organizations expect their senior leaders and middle managers to coach their team members toward higher levels of performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth, and career development. Business coaching is not the same as mentoring. Mentoring involves a developmental relationship between a more experienced "mentor" and a less experienced partner, and typically involves sharing of advice. A business coach can act as a mentor given that he or she has adequate expertise and experience. However, mentoring is not a form of business coaching. Few link coaching activities to compensation, however, resulting in less coaching by managers.[13]

Executive coaching

Executive Coaching involves a coaching professional working with a client to reach a specific goal in their professional development. The specific areas of coaching may include career transition, interpersonal and professional communication, performance management, organizational effectiveness, managing career and personal changes, developing executive presence, enhancing strategic thinking, dealing effectively with conflict, and building an effective team within an organization. An Industrial Organizational Psychologist (I/O psychologist) is one example of a trained professional who can render executive coaching. [14]

Expat and Global Executive coaching

Expat and Global Executive coaching deals specifically with the unique set of challenges created from crossing cultures following an international or domestic relocation. This niche of coaching tends to center around adapting to a new culture, identity issues created within relocating families, difficulties attaining professional goals amidst a changing political and social structure, and other social and personal hurdles unique to each individual. This method of coaching is either individual, or group-based and helps the client gain fulfillment, success and a sense of identity in the areas that are coached[citation needed].

Career coaching

Career coaching focuses on work and career or issues around careers. It is similar in nature to career counseling and traditional counseling. Career coaching is not to be confused with life coaching, which concentrates on personal development. Another common term for Career Coach is 'Career Guide', although career guides typically use techniques drawn not only from coaching, but also mentoring, advising and consulting. For instance, skills coaching and holistic counseling are increasingly of equal importance to careers guidance in the UK.[15]

Financial coaching

Financial coaching is an emerging form of coaching that focuses on helping clients attain their financial goals. In contrast to financial counselors and educators, financial coaches do not provide financial advice to clients, nor do they focus on providing financial information. As such, financial coaches do not need to be experts in personal finance. At its most basic, financial coaching is a one-on-one relationship in which the coach provides encouragement and holds the client accountable to financial goals.

Financial coaching is rooted in the fact that although many people have financial goals and aspirations, they often struggle to attain them. Recognizing the array of challenges inherent in behavior change, including all too human tendencies to procrastinate and overemphasize short-term gains over long-term wellbeing, financial coaches monitor clients’ progress over time. This monitoring function holds clients accountable and is hypothesized to boost clients’ self-control and willpower[citation needed]. Previous studies in psychology indicate that individuals are much more likely to follow through on tasks when they are monitored by others, rather than when they attempt to ‘self-monitor.’[citation needed] Financial coaches also provide encouragement and support, which may also facilitate goal attainment. Although early research links financial coaching to improvements in client outcomes, much more rigorous analysis is necessary before any causal linkages can be established[citation needed].

Personal coaching

Personal coaching is a process which is designed and defined in a relationship agreement between a client and a coach. It is based on the client's expressed interests, goals and objectives.

A professional coach may use inquiry, reflection, requests and discussion to help clients identify personal and/or business and/or relationship goals, and develop action plans intended to achieve those goals. The client takes action, and the coach may assist, but never leads or does more than the client. Professional coaching is not counseling, therapy or consulting.[16] These different skill sets and approaches to change may be adjunct skills and professions.

Health coaching

In the world of health and wellness, a health coach is an emerging new role. Health coaching is becoming recognized as a new way to help individuals "manage" their illnesses and conditions, especially those of a chronic nature[citation needed]. The coach will use special techniques, personal experience, expertise and encouragement to assist the coachee in bringing his/her behavioral changes about.

Sports coaching

Marylebone Cricket Club coaching books

In sports, a coach or manager is an individual involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a sports team or of individual sportspeople. This type of coach gets involved in all the aspects of the sport, including physical and mental player development. Sports coaches train their athletes to become better at the physical components of the game. The coach is assumed to know more about the sport, and have more previous experience and knowledge. The coach’s job is to transfer as much of this knowledge and experience to the players to develop the most skilled athletes.[17]

Dating coaching

Dating coaches are coaches whose job is to direct and train people to improve their success in dating and relationships.A dating coach directs and trains his/her clients on various aspects of meeting and attracting long-term partners and meeting more compatible prospects. The focus of most programs is on confident and congruent communication. Dating coaches may focus on topics important to the art of dating: interpersonal skills, flirting, psychology, sociology, compatibility, fashion and recreational activities. Neil Strauss in The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists also focuses on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), theories of persuasion, history and evolutionary biology, body language, humor and street smarts.

Conflict coaching

Conflict coaching may be used in an organizational context or in matrimonial and other relationship matters. Like many other techniques of this nature, it is premised on the view that conflict provides an opportunity to improve relationships, to create mutually satisfactory solutions and attain other positive outcomes when differences arise between and among people[citation needed].

Victimisation coaching

Victimisation Coaching is a type of life coaching that educates people who consider themselves as victims of crime or those who fear victimisation. Coaches work with groups of people to assist them on how to identify and approach potentially hazardous situations.

Christian coaching

Christian coaching is becoming more common among religious organizations and churches. A Christian coach is not a pastor or counselor, (although they may also be credentialed in those disciplines), but rather someone who has been professionally trained to address specific coaching goals from a distinctively Christian or biblical perspective.

Although training courses exist, there is no single regulatory body for Christian coaching. Some of these training programs feature best-selling Christian authors, leaders, speakers or pastors. Several of these authors have developed their own coach training programs, such as Henry Cloud and John Townsend, or John C. Maxwell.

Coaching ethics and standards

One of the challenges in the field of coaching is upholding levels of professionalism, standards and ethics. To this end, many of the coaching bodies and organizations have codes of ethics and member standards and criteria according to which they hold their members accountable in order to protect coaching clients' interests[citation needed].

Viability as a Career

While coaching as a career has become increasing popular over the past 15 years, fueled by the work of Thomas J. Leonard, there are differing viewpoints concerning how viable a career in coaching is given the competitive marketplace. Suzanne Falter-Barnes and David Wood demonstrated, in a 2007 Survey of 3,000 coaches, that more than 50% of coaches are earning under $10,000 a year.[18] However, the survey canvassed a mixture of full-time and part-time coaches.

See also


  1. ^ Taking the Temperature of Coaching, 2009. 
  2. ^ Creating a Coaching Culture research report
  3. ^ a b Online Etymology Dictionary,
  4. ^ (Davidson & Gasiorowski, 2006)
  5. ^ Greif, S. (2007). Advances in Research on Coaching Outcomes. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2(3), 222–249
  6. ^ Williams, Patrick (2007), "The history and evolution of life coaching", Therapist as life coach, an introduction for counselors and other helping professionals, W.W. Norton & Co. (New York), 
  7. ^ Peer Resources - A Guide to Credentials in Coaching
  8. ^, "Digest of Bills" - 2004, Professions and Occupations Retrieved April 3, 2006
  9. ^ "Accuracy of Self-Evaluation in Adults with ADHD". Journal of Attention Disorder. 2005. 
  10. ^ Lorber, Laura (10 April 2008). "Executive Coaching – Worth the Money?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 November 2008. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "The Coaching Conundrum Report 2009". BlessingWhite. 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2009. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Professor Jenny Bimrose, 'The Changing Context of Career Practice: Guidance, Counselling or Coaching?'
  16. ^ Rogers, Jenny (2008), Coaching skills - a Handbook, Open University Press. 2nd Edn. 
  17. ^ Turman, PD (2001), " Situational Coaching Styles," University of Northern Iowa, Iowa
  18. ^ "Coach Career Survey 2007". SolutionBox. 2007. Executive coaching utilizing Industrial Organizational Psychology


External links

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  • coaching — UK US /ˈkəʊtʃɪŋ/ noun [U] ► HR, MANAGEMENT the job or activity of providing training for people or helping to prepare them for something: »All our employees have access to expert coaching. »His firm provides seminars and one on one coaching… …   Financial and business terms

  • coaching — n. the job of a professional coach. Syn: coaching job. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coaching — index direction (guidance), discipline (training), education, guidance Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • coaching — [ kotʃiŋ ] n. m. • 1987; mot angl. 1 ♦ Entraînement (d un sportif, d une équipe). 2 ♦ Démarche d accompagnement personnalisé (d un dirigeant, d une équipe) visant à atteindre le meilleur niveau de réussite professionnelle et d épanouissement …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Coaching — Le coaching ou mentorat (terme recommandé en France par la DGLFLF[1]) est un accompagnement professionnel personnalisé permettant d’obtenir des résultats concrets et mesurables dans la vie professionnelle et/ou personnelle. A travers le processus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Coaching — En este artículo se detectaron los siguientes problemas: Su redacción actual está escrita a modo de publicidad. Carece de fuentes o referencias que aparezcan en una fuente acreditada. Por favor …   Wikipedia Español

  • Coaching — Coa|ching 〈[koʊtʃıŋ] n. 15; unz.〉 das Coachen [→ Coach] * * * Coa|ching, das; [s], s [engl. coaching]: das Coachen. * * * Coaching   [ kəʊtʃɪȖ; englisch to coach »auf eine Prüfung vorbereiten«, »trainieren«] das, (s), im weiteren Sinn …   Universal-Lexikon

  • coaching — coach|ing [ˈkəutʃıŋ US ˈkou ] n [U] 1.) a process in which you teach a person or team the skills they need for a sport →↑coach tennis/football/rugby etc coaching ▪ a coaching session with one of England s leading boxers 2.) the process of helping …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • coaching — noun (U) 1 a process in which you teach a person or team the skills they need for a sport: tennis/football/rugby coaching etc: tennis coaching sessions 2 a process in which you give a student special instruction in a particular subject …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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