What is Coaching?

Coaching is a collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process, in which the Coach enables the client to clarify what they want to achieve and how they will do that. Coaching helps individuals focus on what matters most to them, and makes them accountable for their own success. Coaching started in the USA in the 1970s, and it is now a multi-million-pound industry, which has recently become very popular in the UK for the following reasons:

  • Downsizing, restructuring, mergers and other organisational changes have radically altered the traditional work environment.
  • The disparity between what managers were trained to do and what their jobs now require of them is widening, due to increasing demands for competitive results.
  • People are wrestling with job insecurity and increased workplace pressures to perform at higher levels than ever before.
  • Individuals who have experienced the excellent results of coaching are talking to more people about it.
  • People are more open to the idea of being in charge of their own lives. Coaching helps them do just that.

Coaching does not involve advice-giving, mentoring or therapy.

How can Coaching help you?

If you are struggling with any aspect of your life, coaching can help you to:

Improve Performance – improvement is at the heart of coaching. Whatever is holding you back, coaching can help identify, and remove, or sidestep it. Topics regularly covered in coaching are improving communication skills, strengthening relationships, managing your personal brand, getting a promotion and taking control of your career path.

Encourage Positive Change – change inherently is difficult and resistance or even sabotage are common. Change topics regularly covered in coaching are feeling out of your depth, juggling work-life balance, managing anxiety and stress, improving self-belief, self-esteem and self worth, and leading a healthier life. Coaching helps people find the best approach for them, remove any blocks in the way and supports them throughout the change period.

Achieve Personal Fulfilment – you’ve got a great job, you live in a nice place, you have great friends but are you fulfilled? Personal fulfilment often doesn’t cost anything in monetary terms but it requires investment in you, understanding who you are, your wants and needs, investment in relationships and community, and continual personal development. We only here for a short time and it’s our duty to ourselves to spend our time wisely and treat ourselves with the love and respect we expect from others. What is missing in your life? Setting goals and working with a coach to make you accountable will greatly increase your chances of achieving them.

Find a New Job – being clear on what you have to offer and selling yourself doesn’t come naturally to many. Coaching will help you identify your unique selling points, get clear on what you want to communicate to a future employer and prepare you for the interview process. Once you are in a role, coaching will help you define what you want to achieve in the short and medium term and help you deliver on your goals.

Make a Career Change – often a daunting thought especially when you have invested 15-20 years in one career just to walk away. If you are not enjoying something that you spend 40+ precious hours a week doing, it’s time to have a serious rethink. Maybe you were made redundant – what a brilliant opportunity for a fresh start. Maybe you are going back into the workforce after a sabbatical or maternity leave. Coaching help you will look at your values, interests and skills to define your dream future career.

Set up a New Business – starting and running a business is tough and can often be lonely. Having a Coach on hand to act as a sounding board can help with strategy, confidence, leadership and decision-making, and can make a real difference to how successful the business is.

How is Coaching different from Counselling or Psychotherapy?

The fundamental difference between counselling or psychotherapy and coaching is that counselling and psychotherapy usually look backwards to investigate the roots and causes of specific psychological problems and dysfunctions. Coaching is different, in that it supports personal and professional growth, focusing on the present and the future to encourage self-improvement while working from a basis of solid psychological functioning. While positive feelings or emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating strategies for achieving specific goals in your work or personal life. The emphasis in a coaching relationship is action, accountability and follow-through.

How is Coaching similar to Counselling or Psychotherapy?

Like a counsellor or psychotherapist, a coach will listen intently, reflect back on what you have said, not judge you and treat everything discussed confidentially.

How do I find out more about the Coach/Coaching?

Prior to your first coaching session, you will have a 15-minute confidential phone call with the coach to find out if the topic you would like to cover is suitable for coaching and for you to ask questions to determine if the chemistry between you and your coach feels right. If it does not, recommendations of other coaches can be made. More information about coaching can be found on the International Coach Federation (ICF) website:

What will the first Coaching session be like?

The first session is longer and more structured that a usual coaching session. It will take 1 hour 20 minutes, and will be an opportunity for us to find out about you, your life, your likes, dislikes, wants, values and to set some goals for the coaching. After that, you bring a topic/goal to each weekly session and work together with your coach to identify what needs to happen and drive change.

How long does a Coaching partnership last?

The length of a coaching partnership varies, depending on your needs and preferences. You may want to prepare for an interview, which will take 1 or 2 sessions, or you may want to focus on a particular life or behavioural change, for which two to four months of meeting weekly is usual.

What does a Coach do?

Your coach will:

  • Listen closely to fully understand you
  • Provide objective observations that will increase your self-awareness
  • Act as a sounding board in exploring possibilities and helping to implement change
  • Champion your opportunities and potential and encourage you out of your comfort zone
  • Identify and encourage change in line with your personal strengths and aspirations
  • Encourage shifts in thinking that reveal new perspectives
  • Highlight blind spots and support the creation of alternative scenarios
  • Maintain professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality
  • Adhere to the International Coach Federation code of ethics

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