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What is Coaching?

Coaching is an emerging profession. I find that many people don't know what it is or they have heard of it but have not experienced it. So, what is coaching?

What I am about to share is my own thoughts which I have collated as a coach and as a coachee, both sides of my own fence.

Further below are more formal descriptions of coaching which may be of interest.


one of the most important things in life is how you feel about yourself


I believe coaching is for those who are willing to take responsibility for the quality of their thinking and the effect it has on their lives and decisions. I see this as self-leadership, which is not about status, it is about being self-initiated in your own personal and professional development.

Coaching is for the person who is feeling 'stuck' and it is also for the person who already feels successful but loves to be even more in touch with their mind. There will be times when coaching is not appropriate, in which case you may be advised or referred to more suited options such as therapy or counselling.

While the topic, the situation, the circumstances can vary, whatever is nudging at you requires some attention and this is where coaching conversations help to bring forth practical change. A coach will support you to examine your thought process so that you come to your own conclusions in a structured way.

Coaching requires you to sit with yourself and explore your thinking patterns, which will have a ripple effect with your feelings behaviours actions and choices. It is a discovery of your inner world. Coaches are not trying to ‘fix’ things, the aim is to open up to your own wholeness where you can draw on your own strength, clarity, and supercharge what IS working.

Transformational coaching is non-advisory and non-directive and yet very much about moving forward. I have had instances where people think I have all the answers just because I coach, an assumption that I can solve someone else’s problem, a ‘fix-me’ mentality. Quite simply, no. That is not effective coaching. Effective coaching is about generating skilled conversation, giving the client the courage to think for themselves. ‘The mind that has the problem is the mind that has the solution’. Coaches create an open non judgmental space where solutions are found. These can be small but key to our well being. The smallest shift in our thinking can make the biggest difference to how we feel, act, behave, and make choices.

Coaches see from another perspective, a wider view that you wouldn't have by yourself. A coach helps you to see patterns, their associations, and the relationship. A coach looks at the context of the content and mirrors it back. The innocent eye that see's what others don't see. Sometimes the clues are right under your nose. It is not necessary to be an expert, coaching is a skill. It's the level of competence and being present that matters.

What you get out of each session will vary. You will likely not come out of each session feeling like you can be at the top of a mountain like the images that come up when you google 'Life Coach'. You may experience some yey's and some ney's. You may get to the juice of an issue or you may let it simmer. You will stretch your thinking and notice how you get in your own way, which then means you are in a position of power because you have a choice. You will discover what nourishes and empowers you and how to use that wisely.

Some days, you will simply be glad that you have someone who you can profoundly be open with in a way that you cannot have anywhere else. 'When people are seen, met, and heard in this space they get down to the essentials. True spaciousness is created by those who engage wisdom, intuition, and are masters of their craft'. Where there is presence, sincerity, neutrality, no threat, there is surrender. When you can surrender there is nothing to resist, and the light comes on.

’You are the ultimate guardian of yourself’ my client said to himself in a coaching session with me. Beautifully true.

As I said at the beginning, we are responsible for the quality of our thought process. 'How we are with the issue is the issue. Learning to be different inside yourself is the ultimate gift'.

To truly transcend you have to know who you are.


Take the time to speak to your own deep dynamic. What do you want to shift?


other coaching definitions:

  • ICF (International Coaching Federation):

‘Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.'

  • ACC (Association for Coaching):

‘Coaching is a facilitated, dialogic and reflective learning process that aims to grow the individuals (or teams) awareness, responsibility and choice (thinking and behavioural). The advancing popularity of the profession reflects a need arising in business and society for people to find solutions to the complexities they face in their life, career and profession. When individuals, teams and business leaders first come to coaching it is often because their recent experiences have driven them to seek coaching support to aid them in finding enhanced ways of being and working. Something needs to change, improve or be enhanced… The issues an individual may be experiencing could be feelings of being ‘stuck’, feelings of lack of progress, frustration, or feelings of going back and forth with no apparent resolution. When they come to coaching they are at a point of transition and by engaging a coach they work together to uncover and de-layer in order to identify the essence of the problem and implement change.'

  • Animas Coaching:

'Coaching is a collaborative, non-directive conversation that brings about change through inquiry, reflection, choice and new behaviours in order to help people make courageous decisions about their life, relationships and work.'

(Please note: The above listed definitions are current as of October 2018. From time to time entities may review and update their definitions.)


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