Introduction to Coaching

The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching, when referring to getting coached by a professional coach, is a development process in which an individual gets support and advice while learning to achieve a specific personal or professional result or goal. The structures, models and methodologies of coaching are numerous, and may be designed to facilitate thinking or learning new behavior for personal growth or professional advancement.

Coaching is not ‘therapy’ by another name although the key theoretical models and techniques found their origins in the field of psychology and associated therapies like gestalt & cognitive behavioural therapy which have broad ranging applications in both organisational and personal contexts. Where therapy brings understanding and awareness of the past to a client; coaching provides the support and strategy to make changes based on the awareness a client holds. Coaching is generally commenced on the premise that clients are self-aware and ‘whole’ and have selected coaching because they do not require a therapeutic intervention. The key difference between coaching and the therapies is that coaching is generally more concerned with the practical issues of setting goals and achieving results within specific time-scales. Coaching is movement oriented and action based. It is possible for someone who has underlying issues to experience success within a coaching context.

Coaches offer their clients a supportive and motivating environment to explore what they want in life and how they might achieve their aspirations and fulfill their needs. By assisting the client in committing to action and by being a sounding-board to their experiences, coaching allows the individual the personal space and support they need to grow and develop. While the coach may dispense advice and provide tools and strategies; the coach's key role is often assisting the client to maintain the motivation and commitment needed to achieve their goals.