Recently, coaching has become a popular concept in the workplace. Over time, senior leaders and managers are expected to develop coaching skills to enhance employee performance, create better relationships, and promote business growth.

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What is Coaching?

Coaching is a type of training activity in which a coach helps improve individual and team performance – by providing support to the person(s) being coached. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines it as a collaborative process between two parties that aims to stimulate thinking, and creativity, and inspire coachees to reach their untapped potential.

Coaching provides an effective way for individuals or teams to reflect on who they are, what matters most in life/work, identify strengths and weaknesses, and recognize problems & solutions needed. A good coach believes each individual has the capability of finding answers with proper guidance from them.

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” – John Whitmore


Benefits of Coaching

Coaching is beneficial for all types of organizations, from small startups to large corporations wishing to improve human resource management. It provides an opportunity for employees to reflect on their current performance, develop strategies for improvement, take risks, and eventually reach a higher level of success.

Effective coaching offers a range of benefits – including (but not limited to):

Increased productivity in the workplace

Coaching is an invaluable resource for individuals and organizations alike, as it helps people recognize their strengths and weaknesses to take positive steps towards better performance. Through working with a qualified coach, employees learn effective problem-solving techniques suitable for their specific situation and develop a clear understanding of their goals. This lays the foundation for them to make well-informed decisions and attain higher success in their roles.

Enhanced communication & relationships between team members

Another major benefit of coaching is that its proven ability in fostering communication and relationships between individuals or teams. The coach will help employees understand each other’s perspectives, develop an effective team culture, and establish trust. This results in more seamless collaboration and enhanced working relationships.

Boosted confidence and motivation in employees

Through a coach’s guidance and support, individuals have the opportunity to gain clarity on their goals and objectives, as well as create personalized paths for growth tailored to their specific skill sets and interests. With this newfound awareness of self-worth comes the empowerment to take on new challenges, expanding their knowledge base, and furthering their career development.

Improved self-awareness

Through coaching, employees are provided with a comprehensive understanding of their personal strengths and weaknesses. This enables them to determine how they’re best suited to work and manage various tasks within the organization. With this knowledge in hand, they become better equipped to make more informed decisions and contribute significantly to their team’s performance.

Unlocked leadership potential

It goes without saying that when people gain better insights into their own self, it also brings about a solid foundation for their leadership development journey. With the help of professional coaches, individuals should be able to enhance the skills necessary to lead and create positive change in the workplace – including communication and collaboration, decision-making, and the ability to inspire others.

Refined overall morale within an organization

Lastly, coaching helps to create a more positive work environment. When employees feel valued and supported in their efforts, they are likely to be more satisfied with their job and highly motivated at work. This means more meaningful interaction between team members, improved efficiency, and an overall increase in the company’s success.

Those who give and receive coaching are at a great advantage compared to those who don’t.

Jack Canfield & Peter Chee – ‘Coaching for Breakthrough Success’

Origin of Coaching

Coaching was originally a term in sports – but has over time become popular in all areas of business and life. The principles of coaching were first coined by Timothy Gallwey in his 1974 book “The Inner Game of Tennis”. Later, John Whitmore developed the GROW model and published “Coaching for Performance” in 1992, which then becomes a standard for the industry.

Coaching is one of the fastest-growing industries in recent years, with total revenue reaching approximately 2 billion USD in 2016. According to the ICF, some of the most popular areas include executive/corporate, business, leadership, career/professionals, agility, life-transitioning, and health & wellness.

In the modern workplace, coaches serve as mentors, advisors, and facilitators – often providing ongoing support to develop their client’s skillset and have positive lasting impacts on business performance.


Coaching vs Mentoring

The terms “coaching” and “mentoring” are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences.

  • Coaching involves helping an individual discover their solutions to life’s problems, with the focus being on the individual (coachee). On the other hand, mentoring is a practice of guiding someone towards learning and growth, typically involving a mentor who has experience and expertise.
  • The former focuses more on present issues, while the latter looks at future career growth.
  • The former is usually a one-time or short-term engagement, while the latter may span over a longer period.
  • Coaching often involves goal-setting and acquiring new skills, while mentoring emphasizes knowledge transmission.
  • The coach helps the individual to solve their own problems, while the mentor provides advice and guidance.
  • etc.

Ultimately, both coaching and mentoring are powerful tools for personal growth – but it is vital to figure out the differences between them to achieve the best results. The choice of using either will ultimately depend on individual circumstances and desired outcomes.

Purposes of Coaching

Coaching is focused on helping the coachee identify personal goals, strengths, weaknesses, and solutions to overcome them. It involves creating a safe and non-judgmental space for exploration and reflection through thought-provoking questions by the coach.

Main purposes:

  • Create conditions that help develop self-awareness in the coached.
  • Support them achieve their desired goal.
  • Build a spirit of self-control.
  • Unlock potentials for enhanced performance in work/life.
  • Stimulate problem-solving, decision making and creative thinking.
  • Motivate individuals to persist in the desired direction.
  • Provide guidance to implementing change.
  • Foster a healthy environment for personal growth.
  • etc.

Coaches should remember that everyone is equal in their ability to change and grow in life, regardless of rank or position. All people have the power to shape their own destiny and reach a higher level of success.

Coaching Process

Typically, the process is made up of the following steps:

Set goals

The coach and the client should discuss and set clear objectives at the start of their engagement. This ensures that the focus of the whole process will be on what the client wishes to achieve.

During the initial goal-setting phase, the role of the coach is to facilitate discussions that shed light on the individual’s expectations, needs, and aspirations. Various tools and techniques may be to foster a mutual understanding between the two parties – such as vision boards, decision-making models, and brainstorming exercises.

Assess current state

At this stage, the coach assesses the client’s current situation and identifies areas for improvement. This process involves examining their mental state, daily/ workplace habits, and external conditions that might affect their performance.

To ensure that the client is providing an accurate representation of their requirements, coaches must equip themselves with the necessary skills and tools to extract full information from them. A thorough understanding of the coachee’s specific needs is crucial to lead them down a successful path toward achieving their goals.

Map out a solution framework

Once the goals have been set – and the assessment of the situation has been completed, it is time to come up with an action plan. The coach should work with the client to determine what steps they need to take in order to reach their desired outcome.

This includes determining the most appropriate strategies for achieving both short-term and long-term goals and helping the client develop a system of accountability that will ensure progress is made and sustained.

Track progress

As the client embarks on their journey to success, it is vital to regularly monitor the progress – so that they gain better self-awareness and understanding of how their actions are impacting the outcomes.

The coach plays an irreplaceable role in this phase – they serve as a source of support and guidance, while simultaneously providing frequent assessments for the coachee to stay on track and identify areas for improvement. This collaboration results in a positive feedback loop that encourages healthy progress and pushes the client to reach their desired results.

Evaluate outcomes

In the end, the coach and client evaluate how well their strategies worked and identify areas for further improvement. This allows for the goals and objectives to be modified, if needed, and for new ones to be set.

Coaching process

Internal vs External Coaching

Coaching may be done through either an outside coach or an internal relationship with a manager or team leader.

  • External: An external is usually a third party trained to provide support. External coaches are often best-suited for managerial or executive roles – as they are capable of providing an objective, unbiased opinion and help better identify potential solutions.
  • Internal: Internal coaching is provided by someone within the organization who has extensive experience and knowledge of the company’s goals and objectives. Internal coaches may be better able to understand the corporate culture and provide more tailored advice.

What Makes a Good Coach?

Whether you are looking for outside help or an internal coach, it is critical that you find someone who meets the following criteria – so that your sessions may yield the desired results.

Deep knowledge base

A good coach should have an intrinsic understanding of the individual they are coaching, be able to develop trust, and create a safe environment for personal growth. They need a deep knowledge base to provide useful advice and resources, as well as the ability to motivate and inspire.

Excellent communication

Good communication is essential for successful coaching. From giving constructive feedback to understanding the client’s needs and objectives, coaches need excellent verbal and written communication skills – so as to get their message across in a clear and concise manner. Storytelling is a handy bonus competence for helping people understand complex concepts.

Strong people skills

Building strong relationships with clients is key to successful coaching; therefore, coaches must possess strong interpersonal skills and be able to empathize with those they are working with. They should also be good at problem-solving and have a positive attitude towards change.

The ability to identify issues quickly and objectively

For the coaching process to be effective, coaches must be able to identify issues quickly and objectively. They should possess strong analytical skills that allow them to drill down into the underlying causes of any problems faced by their clients – and come up with a suitable solution.

Flexibility in their working ways

As everyone comes with unique needs and aspirations, it is recommended that coaches always strive to tailor their approach to meet the specific needs of each client – by utilizing different techniques and strategies. They must also be willing and able to adjust as the coaching process progresses, to ensure progress is being made toward meeting objectives.

A non-judgmental attitude

A good coach is expected to provide the necessary guidance and advice – without passing criticism. They need to be patient, encouraging, and willing to listen without judging or offering unhelpful advice.

In all situations, they should create an atmosphere of trust that allows clients to open up and share their thoughts and feelings – so that any mental barriers which may be hindering progress can be addressed.

Belief in people’s potential

Above all, one should be able to recognize the individual’s potential and help them fully unlock it. Coaching is about empowering people, and the willingness to truly believe in someone’s capacity for change is essential. Without it, their efforts will be wasted.

7 qualities of a good coach

Types of Coaching Styles

The specific coaching style adopted should be based on the individual’s needs and objectives. Here are some popular types of approaches when working with coachees:

  • Solution-focused: This style focuses on finding solutions to present problems – and works best when the person being coached is motivated to make changes.
  • Cognitive-behavioral: This approach helps individuals identify and challenge negative thinking patterns – so they can take more control over their thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
  • Narrative: A narrative approach works to uncover stories in a coachee’s life that may be affecting their current situation – enabling them to gain clarity and reframe issues.
  • Co-active: Co-active coaching encourages individuals to take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions – so that they may make conscious decisions that lead to positive changes.
  • Strengths-based: This style helps coachees to identify and develop their personal strengths – enabling them to make the most of their talents.

When selecting a coaching style, it is important to bear in mind that each approach works differently for different people. A coach should have a good understanding of the various methods available – in order to offer the most appropriate solution for their client.

Finding the Right Coach

When searching for a coach, it is essential to find one who not only has the necessary qualifications and experience – but also corresponds well with your needs and objectives. For this purpose, you should try to research potential coaches thoroughly – by reading up on their backgrounds, previous experiences, and success stories.

At the end of the day, coaching is an extremely beneficial transformational solution for those wishing to make positive changes in their life. However, finding the right coach and approach is key to having successful outcomes – so it’s worth taking the time to do some research before deciding on a suitable option.

A Few Things to Remember

When it comes to coaching, remember that the coach and client should work together in a partnership of respect and trust. Specifically, the focus should be on creating an environment of learning and growth – rather than providing instruction or advice.

It is also important for both parties to have clear objectives and be prepared to assess progress regularly. This will help ensure that the coaching process is as effective as possible – and will enable both parties to track progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Finally, make sure that there is strong commitment and dedication from both parties involved so that real progress can be made toward desired goals – leading to more fulfilling lives.

How to Become an Expert Coach

A career in coaching does not require expertise in the field you are coaching, but rather requires personal qualities such as observation, responsibility, and creativity. To become an expert coach, it is recommended that you first earn for yourself a worldwide recognized certification.

Qualifications can be obtained through accredited organizations that offer training in the fundamentals of coaching, such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) – or joining programs designed by world-renowed institutions (we recommend that you give our Certified Coaching & Mentoring Professional – CCMP program a try). It is also essential to have a clear understanding of models and techniques applicable to different scenarios.

In addition, ongoing development and education is essential in order to stay up-to-date on the latest strategies. Developing a personal approach, building a niche of expertise, and attending conferences and workshops are great ways for coaches to advance their skillset.

Finally, it is important for coaches to build a solid reputation by demonstrating results with clients and obtaining references and testimonials. This will establish the coach as a credible expert in their field, and attract more clients.

Read more: Best Coaching Books for Professional Transformation

Disruptive coaching

Bonus Tips for Aspiring Coaches

Following the tips below should prove to be helpful in your journey toward coaching mastery.

Develop a system

Having a clear framework for the coaching process is essential to stay organized and ensuring that objectives are achieved. It also makes it easier to modify strategies along the way – depending on the progress of your client.

Be patient and flexible

It’s essential to be patient and understanding of your client’s journey – as this will allow for more meaningful results. Always set realistic goals and be willing to adjust them as needed – since change happens gradually over time.

Listen actively

Active listening is an essential skill for any successful coach. By taking the time to truly listen without interruption or judgment, coaches build up an environment that encourages clients to open up and share their thoughts freely.

Ask empowering questions

Armed with the necessary information, coaches may then use empowering questions to guide the client toward discovering answers and solutions on their own – rather than providing them with direct advice. Open-ended questions such as “What would make you feel more confident in this situation?” or “What do you think is the best approach here?” foster self-reflection and exploration of new possibilities.

Follow up

It is also crucial for coaches to remain in contact with clients following a coaching session. Staying connected makes it simpler to track progress and observe how goals are being achieved over time. In addition, it also demonstrates care and concern for the client’s personal development.

In one of the largest studies ever done on the effects of executive coaching – over 70,000 respondents – we learned that the biggest mistake coaches make is in not following up. It didn’t matter who the coach was or what method they used. Failing to follow up made any approach to coaching ineffective.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith – World #1 Executive Coach & Leadership Thinker


Coaching is an invaluable tool for individuals and organizations looking to reach their goals. Developing an effective coaching process requires a partnership of trust and respect between the coach and client, as well as a commitment from both parties to ensure maximum benefit. In addition, coaches should look to become qualified professionals, stay up-to-date on the latest strategies, and build a strong reputation through results and references.

Other resources you might be interested in:

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