- This article refers to the act of coaching people.
Coaching is a method of directing, instructing and training a person or group of people, with the aim to achieve some goal or develop specific skills. There are many ways to coach, types of coaching and methods to coaching. Direction may include motivational speaking. Training may include seminars, workshops, and supervised practice.
The name allegedly recalls the multitasking skills associated with controlling the team of a horse-drawn stagecoach.
By the 1880s United States college sports teams had -- in addition to managers -- coach sport coaches. Some time in the 20th century, non-sporting coaches emerged: non-experts in the specific technical skills of their clients, but who nevertheless ventured to offer generalised motivational or inspirational advice.
Recent practices in performance coaching in non-sporting environments focus on non-directive questioning, provocation and helping clients to analyze and solve their own challenges, rather than offering advice or direction see Tim Gallwey's The Inner Game of Tennis or Myles Downey's Effective Coaching).
Life coaching is a practice with the stated aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Life coaches use multiple methods they say may help clients with the process of setting and reaching goals. Coaching is not targeted at psychological illness, and coaches are not therapists nor consultants.
Life coaching has roots in executive coaching, which itself drew on techniques developed in management consulting and leadership training. Life coaching also draws inspiration from disciplines including sociology, psychology, Positive Adult Development career counseling, mentoring, and other types of counseling. The coach may believe that they apply mentoring, values assessment, behavior modification, behavior modeling, goal-setting, and other techniques in helping their clients.
Since there is no official regulatory standard for life coaching and no governed education or training standard for the life coaching industry, anyone can call themselves a coach and take on clients. Multiple coaching schools and training programs are available, causing confusion around the terms "certification" and "credentials" as they apply to the coaching industry. Multiple certificates and credential designations are available within the industry. The status of most of these are in flux.
Three standards and self-appointed accreditation bodies are internationally recognized: the International Coaching Council (ICC) , the International Coach Federation (ICF), the International Association of Coaching (IAC) and the European Coaching Institute (ECI). No independent supervisory board evaluates these programs, and they are all privately owned.
Some have asserted that life coaching amounts to little more than psychotherapy without restrictions, oversight, or regulation. The State legislatures of Colorado after holding a hearing on such concerns, disagreed , asserting that coaching is unlike therapy because it does not focus on examining nor diagnosing the past. Instead coaching focuses on effecting change in a client's current and future behavior.
Personal Coaching is a relationship which is designed and defined in a relationship agreement between a client and a coach. It is based on the client's expressed interests, goals, and objectives.
Personal Coaching is a learning process. A Personal Coach may use inquiry, reflection, requests and discussion to help clients identify personal and/or business and/or relationship goals, develop strategies, relationships and action plans intended to achieve those goals. A coach provides a place for clients to be held accountable to themselves by monitoring the clients' progress towards implementation of their action plans. Together they evolve and modify the plan to best suit the client's needs and environmental relationships. A Personal Coach acts as a human mirror for clients by sharing an outside and unbiased perspective on what they are observing about their clients. A Personal Coach may teach specific insights and skills to empower the client toward their goals. Finally, a Personal Coach encourages the client to celebrate the achievement of milestones and goals.
Clients are responsible for their own achievements and success. The client takes action; and the coach may assist, but never leads or does more than the client. Therefore, a coach cannot and does not promise that a client will take any specific action or attain specific goals.
Personal Coaching is not counseling, therapy or consulting. These different skill sets and approaches to change may be adjunct skills and professions. The Personal Coach recognizes his/her limitations, and refers the client for other services as ethically required.
Business coaching is the practice of providing support and occasional advice to an individual or group in order to help them recognize ways in which they can improve the effectiveness of their business. It can be provided in a number of ways, including one-on-one tuition, group coaching sessions and large scale seminars. Business coaches are often called in when a business is perceived to be performing badly, however many businesses recognize the benefits of business coaching even when the organization is successful. Business coaches often specialize in different practice areas such as Executive Coaching, Corporate Coaching, and Leadership Coaching.
Business coaching is not the same as mentoring. Mentoring involves a developmental relationship between a more experienced "mentor" and a less experienced partner, and typically involves sharing of advice. A business coach can act as a mentor given that he or she has adequate expertise and experience however, mentoring is not a form of business coaching. A good business coach need not have specific business expertise and experience in the same field as the person receiving the coaching, in order to provide quality business coaching services.
Template:See also In sports, a coach or manager is an individual involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of an sports team or of individual sportspeople.
Conflict coaching is a specialized niche in both the fields of coaching and conflict management. Conflict coaching may be used in an organizational context, for matrimonial and other relationship matters and is one of many conflict management tools for helping people improve their conflict management skills and abilities. Like many other techniques of this nature, it is premised on the view that conflict provides an opportunity to improve relationships, to create mutually satisfactory solutions and attain other positive outcomes when differences arise between and among people.
- IAC - International Association of Coaches - A certifying organization
- ICF - International Coach Federation - A certifying organization
- ICC - International Coach Council - A certifying organization
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- Peer Resources - A Guide to Credentials in Coaching
-  Digest of Bills - 2004, Professions and Occupations Retrieved April 3, 2006