What is Coaching?

Life coaching is a relatively new field in the area of personal development and I often get asked “What is coaching and how can it help me?” There are some people who speak quite negatively about it and recently I read a comment on a friends LinkedIn profile saying “Coaching is easy answers for weak minded individuals.”

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So I decided to answer this in a blog post to really explain what coaching is and why it’s so powerful?

It’s recognised in the sporting industry that if you want to be successful in a particular sport you need a coach. All the top athletes have a coach from an early age and that coach plays a huge role in their success.

Why is it then that some people fail to recognise the importance of coaching in other areas of their lives?

So What is Coaching?

Coaching is about empowerment and a designed alliance between the coach and the client.  It helps the client determine what their goals are and how they can achieve those goals.  On the surface it can look like just a conversation but It’s a conversation with a purpose.  It is often the actions that are taken between sessions that ensure the most progress. It enables the client to view their life from a different perspective and give them confidence to move forward.

While the fundamentals of coaching remain the same there are different types of coaching which are identified by the area you would like to focus on.

Main types of coaching

  • Life/Personal Coaching
  • Business Coaching
  • Executive Coaching
  • Career Coaching
  • Relationship Coaching
  • Health and Wellness Coaching
  • Sports Coaching

Benefits of coaching

There are lots of benefits of having a coach; here are just a few.

  • You will have a better understanding of yourself and what you want
  • You’ll become aware of what’s holding you back and why.
  • You’re better able to prioritise what’s important to you.
  • You have a sounding board to bounce ideas off.
  • Your level of commitment will change because you have someone who will hold you accountable.
  • You will have increased productivity.
  • You will achieve your goals and dreams much faster than you would by yourself.

Can anyone be coached?

No it is not a miracle cure to everyone’s problems. You have to not only be open to new possibilities but willing to take action. It doesn’t have to be huge leaps but you won’t get anywhere standing still.

It doesn’t matter whether you are hugely successful or struggling coaching can help.

What kind of results can you expect from coaching?

I can’t give you a definitive answer about what results YOU would get because it depends on your coach and your willingness to take action. However, the International Coach Federation did a study and got the following the results.


Source: ICF Global Coaching Client Study was commissioned by the ICF but conducted independently by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Finding the right coach

[bctt tweet=”If you want to achieve these kinds of results it’s important to find the right coach.”]

If you are to achieve these kinds of results it is important to find the right coach.   There are a number of ways to do this. Here are just a few:

  • Ask a friend or colleague for a recommendation. This is my favourite because you can ask about their experience and get to know the coach a bit before even speaking to them.
  • Testimonials are often available to view on the coach’s website. They are written affirmations of another person’s experience.
  • Find a coach who has a certain level of expertise around the topic you would like to work on. The topics I help people with are Better Relationships, Presentation Blues, Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Build Your Confidence and Weight Loss and Fitness.
  • Have an informal chat with the coach. Ask questions and see whether you would find this person easy to open up to.
  • Check them out on social media. The type of things they put out on social media is often reflection of their character.
  • Check out whether they are qualified. Anyone can set themselves up as a coach without any formal qualification.

If you’re thinking about getting a coach and think I might be the coach for you. Send me message and I will see if I can help.

I’d love to hear your stories about coaching. Do you agree or disagree with what I have to say and what are your experiences with coaching?

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  1. Thanks Julie for a great blog post – it’s really interesting to see how many different areas of life coaching can help in and what an impact it can have.I’ve used a coach twice and both times found it an incredibly useful and empowering experience.

    1. Thanks Gabrielle. Coaching can help in many areas both in life and business. It’s great to hear that having a coach has been a positive and empowering experience for you.

  2. Carol Rundle

    Two things: stuff we post online lives forever (right, Stephen M. Wyatt?) and how awesome is it that they’ve actually quantified the benefits of coaching!

    1. Yes Carol, you have to be careful what you put out on social media you might end up regretting it. I knew there were a lot of benefits of coaching but it was great to see the statistics. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. So glad you chose this topic for your blog. I retired 15 years ago from being a career counselor. Since then, that title changed to career coach and with the growth of personal development field, many other types of coaches grew up. When asked what I did or what was career counselling, I said: It is Confusion Reduction. Perhaps that would still apply today.

    I tried learning social media marketing on my own for a few years and since having a coach, couldn’t be happier.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Roslyn. Confusion reduction is a great way to describe career coaching. I’m glad that you have found it beneficial getting a coach.

  4. I really appreciate the image of the results from coaching survey. I must admit that I think it is funny that while customer satisfaction was almost 100%, fewer people would “repeat the process.” I like the way you answer the question of whether everyone can be coached. Yes, people have to be open and willing.

    1. Thanks Beth. Yes their is a difference although not by very much. 96% of people would still repeat the process. I think that’s a pretty good result don’t you?

  5. GREAT overview of what coaching is and why it’s so important. Your sporting analogy helps put the naysayers to shame. The best of the best have coaches, mentors, and mastermind groups. It’s with collaboration that we become most successful.

    1. Holly makes a good point. The best of the best have mentors and coaches. The trick is finding the right coach. It can be tough, I was in a traumatic motorcycle accident, suffered from brain damage, and I had to see all kind of doctors and life coaches. In my experience there were more bad life coaches and doctors then good ones. But you could look on the bright side, bad coaches make the good coaches even better. #Goodcoachesrule

      1. Thanks Devin, the best of the best do indeed have mentors and coaches. It can be tough finding the right coach, but it really is worth it when you do you. Unfortunately as you pointed out there are some bad coaches and not all coaches have had any professional training. I love the hashtag #GoodCoachesRule.

  6. One important fact about coaching, people can only be coached if they are willing. And the success you get is based on how much you take in and what you are willing to act on.Finding a coach who is an expert in the area of your business is important but also one you trust. This will make you more comfortable taking advice and acting on it.

    1. You are right Michael. You have to be willing to act and will only get out of coaching what you put in. Finding the right coach for you is paramount when it comes to coaching.

  7. Congrats on your 1st blog. Brava!

    Wish I’d gone for more coaching much earlier in my business life.

    It would have save a lot of heart ache.

    1. Thanks Sharon. I believe very much in walking the talk. How can I ask other people to push outside their comfort zone if I’m not willing to.

  8. This blog post is so timely! I was just discussing with my business partner how a lot of people don’t really understand what coaching is. And very true that before anyone can benefit that need to be ready for a change and willing to do the work that will get them there. It’s partnership really

    1. Thanks Lisa. Coaching is still a relatively new concept.The benefits are huge if you commit to the process and are willing to follow through on your actions.

  9. As a health & wellness coach, and having utilized the services of a life coach in the past, I can say that coaching DEFINITELY made a huge difference in my performance at work, my self confidence, and my work/life balance. Great to see the chart!!

    1. Thanks Natalie. It’s great to hear that you were able to benefit from having a life coach especially in the area of self confidence because this has a huge benefit on other areas of your life.

  10. Great job! You are so correct, Julie, that not everyone is ready for coaching — although everyone can certainly benefit. It takes work and commitment (time and financial) and many people just want you to solve their problems for them. As you point it, it just doesn’t work that way.

    1. Thanks Jackie, yes everyone could benefit from coaching but as you point out you will only see results with work and commitment. Personally I believe it is well worth it.

  11. Great job on your first blog Julie and you sure did nail it. I remember that post and was quite shocked that folks actually believe that about coaching. I think that therapy or counseling gets the same stigmata, that which I also disagree!

    1. Thanks Kristen I really appreciate your kind comments. Writing has never been a strong point for me but I have pushed through the fear of so many things in the past few months that it’s getting easier.

      I agree Therapy and Counselling also have a stigma attached usually by people who have never experienced the true value.

  12. Coaching really plays a significant role in knowing any aspect of life you need to be coached. Its value cannot be overemphasized.

  13. Whoever that guy is clearly needs coaching 🙂
    Congrats on your first blog!

  14. Vicky

    Once you are open to coaching the rewards are amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Julie –
    Thanks for the great post and the I really agree with “find the right coach.” I do believe there is no “one” right coach for everyone, but one perfect coach for you if you connect and see the realization of the goal being pursued.

    I have had many coaches and have benefited the most with coaches I resonate with at a place that can only be discovered in a discovery session where the potential client interviews the coach. A good coach can read between the lines and assist in holding you accountable by getting through to the obstacles that may be blocking the progress — signs of a good coach.
    Fortunately for me, I am highly intuitive and am able to utilize this attribute with my clients.

    1. Thanks Renae, I really appreciate your comment. I have found that during my discovery sessions we are able to identify some of the blocks that is holding the client back and identify a way forward. In follow up sessions this relationship continues to develop and grow.

  16. Coach Julie,

    Great post! Thank you for sharing the importance & benefits of coaching. It can contribute to the success of relationships,work life, family life, and so much more! Thanks again!

  17. Great post and I really like the ICF graph which depicts results.

    You do a very nice job of spelling out the importance and power of coaching.

  18. So true! I wouldn’t be doing what I love now without having invested in a coach myself to help me remember my purpose!

  19. Great post! Sometimes we are just too close to our own problems and it takes an outsider to point us in the right direction, out of the woods so to speak. I’ve never had a coach before, just great family and friends, but it’s definitely something I’d consider.

  20. Thanks for this post. I struggle with calling myself a coach, even though it’s essentially what I do. I like teaching and “having conversation” doesn’t fulfill that need. However your line about “conversation with purpose” hit something with me. I think I’ll approach it from this thought from now on.

    Thank you!

  21. I had not seen the research by IFC. Love the effect coaching can have for someone. We all need support in some area of our life.

  22. Coaching sounds quite a bit like mentoring. But mentoring, I think, is more one on one. I guess the most important consideration is that the coaching situation is a good fit. I did like the sports analogy—that made a lot of sense.

  23. I ♥ this line: Coaching is about empowerment and a designed alliance between the coach and the client.
    Its so powerful and really sets the tone of what a great coaching relationship is all about!I loved your click to tweet! I gotta figure out how to set that up!

  24. Great article. Sometimes it is very difficult to overcome the short-sightedness and narrow mindedness of the few in a non-traditional career. Kudos to you for rising to the challenge.

  25. Excellent post, and it spells out quite thoroughly what coaching is and how hiring a coach and work to get the results one is looking for.

  26. I was a skeptic for years, much like the man in your example, I thought that only weak people used coaches. Then as time went on I saw more and more people in my circles using coaches and they were happier, more productive, successful… I hired a coach as soon as the right one appeared in my life and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. We have to keep spreading the message, “You don’t have to do it alone!”

  27. GAH, Julie!!! I’ve been steering away from the “coach” title for years because I never thought of myself as a coach. Teacher, mentor, Consultant, guidance something or other. But not coach. LOLz But, alas …. what you state is EXACTLY what I do! Maybe “coach” will grow on me. 😀

    On the serious side, I think finding the right coach/mentor is important. Especially the perfect match that really helps move you to that next step!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! And making me face the fact that what I really do is coaching. 🙂

    1. Glad to help Gypsy. We get so hung up on titles, but it doesn’t always help to label things. Coaching is something everyone does. It’s a natural way of helping people solve their problems. The thing to be aware of is that many who call themselves coaches are not trained to do so. That’s okay if you’re just looking for a friend to lean on, but if you want real results, it’s always best to work with a qualified coach.

  28. I very much appreciated this article. I would also like to highlight the distinction between a good coach, consultant, and mentor. (You could further define the spectrum with therapist, counselor, teacher and trainer, but for brevity I won’t.)

    I would describe a coach precisely as you do, someone who helps you clarify and progress toward personal goals, which may be in any manner of areas of life. In contrast, a consultant may provide some coaching functions, but usually also has responsibility for certain deliverables (such as setting up an integration between a client’s website and their autoresponder, or developing their marketing plan with them, etc.). Achieving the deliverables may require the consultant “coach” the client past inner obstacles, so that clear and relevant objectives can be set and tasks assigned during meetings are followed through on by the client between meetings.

    A mentor, may have elements of both, but doesn’t tend to advance clients through a specific program with a set beginning and ending place the way a coach or consultant would. Often a mentor is someone who is more experienced and successful in whatever area the mentoring is in. It may be informal or may be a formal arrangement, especially at the end of a more organized coaching or consulting program.

    Again, I could go on, but there is basically a spectrum within the “verbal helping” field that goes from trainer to therapist in terms of how directive vs. therapeutic the relationship’s focus is. At different stages in our life, depending on our goals and hurdles, all of these helping professionals have something incredibly valuable to offer, if we want our future to be better than our past.

    1. Thanks, Indigo. There are many professions in the field of “Verbal helping” as you pointed out and sometimes those professions overlap. In my experience, it’s more important that you find the right person.

  29. Val Silver

    I really liked the graph showing the benefits of coaching.

  30. Great explanation of what coaching is. What stood out most was the honest answer to the question, Can anyone be coached?

    You are so right. Coaching is not a miracle cure to everyone’s problems. Being open to new possibilities and being willing to take action is a must.

    1. Thanks, Danette. Yes, coaching is not a miracle cure and understanding this is key. Taking action is so important,without action nothing changes.

  31. Even though I have worked with life and business coaches for a number of years now and was aware of the the great value they offer their clients, it wasn’t until last year that I made the investment in hiring my own business coach. I’ve loved every minute of it! I would never step out of my comfort zone if it wasn’t for her pushing me. My income has been more consistent, I have more confidence, I have raised my income ceiling, and so much more. It’s definitely pays for itself, in one way or another – if you’re willing to do the work to see the results!

    1. Thanks Lisa. I’m so glad you are seeing the benefits of having a coach. The most growth happens when you step outside your comfort zone. Coaches are there not only to push you but also to support you in this process. By continually stepping outside your comfort zone, you will be able to do things you never thought possible.

  32. I, as well, was skeptical about the benefits of having a business coach, but the results thus far have been amazing. As you mentioned, it’s a relationship, so you need to find a coach that you gel with. Once you are both on the same track for your business, you will be more focused and accountable and will see incredible results.

    1. I hear this time and time again. When the coach is right for you will see amazing results. I’m really glad you have found that person and you are seeing the results.

  33. Your post resonated with me because it breaks down life coaching into a language that everyone can understand. As life coaches we need to be clear on what we can and can’t do to help people. Unfortunately that line is crossed many times and the negative implications become more visible than all the really positive work that we have done.
    Your point on the “fit” is so important between the client and coach but also the client must have the true desire to work with their coach. Coaching is a mutual relationship that needs to be two way to work.
    Thanks very much for the down to earth post!

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