What is coaching?

7 July 2020

What is coaching?

If you Google search ‘What is coaching?’ you’ll be offered nearly 200 million search results!  

It’s fair to say there are many definitions of coaching but the essence of coaching is ‘unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance’.

Coaching helps a person:

  • learn for themselves rather than being taught.
  • change in the way they wish to.
  • go in the direction they want to go.
  • build awareness and feel empowered about their choices, leading to change.

Coaching supports a person at every level in becoming who they want to be.


Coaching has traditionally been associated with sports and many of us, even if not sports fans, will recognise that top and aspiring sports people have a coach. These days it’s quite normal for someone to work with a coach to help them achieve their goals in their life and work.

Coaching is very much a partnership between coach and client, working together to achieve the client’s coaching goals.  Coaching ensures the client can give their best, learn and develop in the way they wish.

There are many different types of coaching including:

  • Career coaching
  • Transition coaching
  • Business coaching
  • Executive coaching
  • Leadership coaching
  • Performance coaching
  • Confidence coaching
  • Life coaching

Because coaching is not about teaching, the coach need not be an expert in their clients’ field of work.  A coach does however need to be skilled and experienced in asking the right questions at the right time, listening (the client should be doing most of the talking), reflecting back, summarising and gaining commitment to action on the part of the client as well as holding them to account. 

Coaching can be conducted in a way to suit the client.  Many coaches offer face to face, more and more coaches offer online coaching (via zoom or skype etc), telephone, walking and outdoor. Coaching in different environments can offer an opportunity to see issues from a different perspective and bring new thinking and insights to the challenges the client is working through.  

Coaching is often confused with mentoring and counselling but there are very clearly differences.

Mentoring is a relationship between two people, one usually in a more senior or experienced role, and who has had a similar career path. They’ll be seen as an experienced and trusted advisor.   The mentor is responsible for providing support and to feedback to the individual.

Counselling (and there are many different forms) often involves the individual looking back to the past, making sense of events and may involve some emotional/therapeutic healing.  Coaching on the other hand is future focussed.

Whether you’ve yet to experience coaching for the first time or have worked with a coach before, if you have something you’d like to work on with a coach, the Chichester Coaches Circle has a number of coaches with a huge range of experience and expertise.  There’s bound to be someone just right for you. The Thrive Team are proud to be members of Chichester Coaches Circle.

To move yourself and your organisation forward, join us (online) in partnership with Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 30 September 2020 to experience coaching for yourself.

Don’t miss out. Secure your place now at:

https://www.chichestercci.org.uk/event/experience-coaching-day

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