What is Coaching?

Coaching can be described as a method and technique that can be used for guiding an individual to new learning in defined time frame.

There are many definitions for coaching, from more simple and inclusive definition as:
“The process of empowering others” (Whitmore, 1997), to more definitive definition like:
“A process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve.”
The different coaching associations also use different definitions. For example:
The Association for coaching(www.associationforcoaching.com) definition is: "A collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee." (Anthony Grant, University of Sydney, 2000)
The International Coach Federation (ICF) (www.coachfederation.org) definition is: “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
The different definitions parallel different applications of coaching including business coach; executive coach; life coach; performance coach; sports coach, workplace coach and more.

The common thread utilising all types of coaching is that these services offer a route and space for reflection and action that ultimately empower and enable the individual to achieve success and fulfilment in one or more areas of their life or work.
Whichever the definition or type of coaching it is clear that to be a successful coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place.

Coaching in its modern form was born out the constructionist learning theory with the core belief that we construct our own understanding of the world through reflection and interpretation of our experiences.

The Life Coach
Life coaching is a practice with the aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Life coaches use multiple methods that will help clients with the process of setting and reaching goals. Coaching is not targeted at psychological illness, and coaches are not therapists or counsellors.

The Counselling Coach
It is important to understand the difference between Coaching and Counselling. Although, in some ways the basic skills and techniques are the same the main difference is that counselling focuses on an individual’s mental and emotional health, while coaching is a form of personal development (McMahon, 2005). This difference however, is less obvious when considering the more goals oriented and time limited counselling approaches, where philosophy, skills and even titles overlap. For example Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Solution Focused Coaching, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and CBT Coaching.

The aim of the counselling coaching model is to create a coaching model that can work with people with mild non-clinical emotional distress. Many coaches come across clients who can benefit from techniques that help address emotional barriers. Similarly, many counsellors work with clients who can benefit from the coaching solution focused and result oriented process.

Definition of Counselling Coaching
A collaborative solution focused, goal oriented process in which the counselling coach facilitates and enhances the clients’ ability to explore and address difficulties and distress they may experience in order to maximise the potential and quality of their personal and professional lives and improve their performances.

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