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What is coaching?

30.03.2021 2 min read

What is coaching? A question I asked myself for the first time a few years ago and have been asked again and again since the beginning of my coaching education. At the beginning of my coaching education, it was not easy for me to give a short and concrete answer to this question.

In one sentence, I would describe coaching today as follows:

“Coaching means accompanying another person in working towards a goal of one’s own choosing, working in partnership with this person, and thus walking a piece of this person’s life-journey together.”

Coaching refers to someone who has recognized an issue in one’s life that they would like to work on. In doing so, they can get support by a coach. This support often means impulses and interventions that are always related to the topic and goal of the coach’s clients. Specifically, this can be questions, knowledge, methods, or tools. This cooperation is based on partnership, follows a framework (coaching process) and is based on a clear and transparent agreement.

There are different types of coaching, which differ on the one hand by the aspects and on the other hand by the concrete methods in coaching. Integral coaching follows a process which is divided into the areas of personality, skills, knowledge, concepts, values, and self. These areas can be considered during the coaching process by coach and coachee regarding the topic and goal. Crucial aspects in this process are the coaching goal, the relationship between coach and coachee, and the amount of time available for the whole process. On the one hand, these aspects create more structure in the process, and on the other hand, they result in clear changes of perspective that make the coaching process more comprehensive.

Now, the question may arise, “When is one ‘coachable’?”. The basic requirements for a coaching process are:

  • intrinsic motivation to one’s own topic/goal
  • conscious and reflected decision for a coaching process
  • clarity about psychological or therapeutic issues, which are distinguishable from the topic of the coaching process
  • fit between coach and coachee, as a coaching process’ fundament is openness and trust