I’m asked many times to ‘define coach’, tell folks what is ‘it’ that I do.  I thought I’d post a clear picture about Coaching so that my efforts to share a more complete picture wouldn’t be in vain.

From the North and Central Alabama Chapter of the International Coach Federation:

What is Coaching?

  • Coaching is designed to help people improve their learning and performance, and enhance their quality of life.  Coaching does not focus directly on relieving psychological pain or treating cognitive or emotional disorders.
  • A coach relates to the client, both internal and/or external to your organization, as a partner.  A coach does not relate to the client from a position of an expert, authority, mentor or healer.
  • Coach and client together choose the focus, format, and desired outcomes for their work.  The client does not relinquish the responsibility for creating and maintaining these nor does the coach take full responsibility for them.
  • Coaching concentrates primarily on the present and the future.
  • Coaching uses information from the client’s past to clarify where the client is today.  It does not depend on resolution of the past to move the client forward.

What is NOT Coaching?

  • Coaching is not a replacement for training.  It is rather an extension of the training and development profession.
  • Coaching is not telling the client what to do and how to do it, even though advice, opinions, or suggestions are occasionally offered in coaching.  both parties understand that the client is free to accept or decline what is offered and takes the ultimate responsibility for action.
  • Coaching is not a substitute for psychotherapy, although it can be used concurrently with psychotherapeutic work.
  • Coaching is not taking ownership of client progress, but rather supporting it.
  • Coaching does not focus on the past or on the past’s impact on the present.  It is forward thinking, moving toward goals set by the client.

What is a Coach?

  • Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients, both internal and/or external, produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives.
  • Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.
  • Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs.
  • Coaches believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful.
  • The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client has.

Well, there you have it.  Copy this if you like.  Refer to it when you need to.  Contact a coach if you believe this profession can help you.  It isn’t for everybody and it is not a panacea.  It will take work and effort on your part to create change in your life.  But if you stick with it and have a good coach, you will not believe the wonderful things that will occur in your life.

Kyle DeLoach