This article is a basic introduction to the coaching profession and includes some coaching definitions
Interested in learning more about what is coaching? This is a good place to start. This article is designed to give you a bird’s eye view of this growing phenomenon called coaching. We explore some definitions and introduce you to four of the main coaching organizations we know. See our expanded list below for more.
Coaching as a practice is very young and is made up of practitioners from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds, from business consulting, Human Relations (HR) and Organizational Development (OD), and training, to sports, education, and philosophy, to any number of psychological disciplines such as industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, and social psychology. Given the varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives coaches bring, it is not surprising to see a lack of consensus about definitions, methods, and techniques.
Anthony Grant, one of our council of advisors offers an introduction to one perspective on coaching and how it differs from other approaches. He was one of the first to suggest that coaching could be as evidence based as other disciplines and to explore some of the challenges to becoming more professionalized. Below is his powerpoint presentation, Evidence-based Coaching What, How and Why?
What is coaching?
There are perhaps as many different definitions of coaching as there are coaches practicing the art. This speaks to the variety and diversity of perspectives pertaining to coaching.
Coaching at a glance: (Common definitions)
For many, the unique aspect of coaching is it's emphasis on helping clients discover their resources and how it can foster a process where clients find their own solutions. In practice, it is probably a bit more complex, as some practice "pure" non-directive coaching and others weave in advisory comments. Which is better? We hope to explore these and other issues in our discussion sections.
Curious about what some people think about executive coaching?
The Executive Coaching Forum provides the following definition of executive coaching.
The Forum's Charter is to:
Promote the best practices, ethical guidelines and understanding of Executive Coaching for all members of the coaching partnership (the coach, the executive being coached, and the executive's organization) to enhance leadership and organizational effectiveness on a global basis. We achieve these ends by:
Identifying best practices
Establishing high standards for the professional practice of executive coaching
Our work is built upon the foundation of the principles and guidelines defined in The Executive Coaching Handbook from the Executive Coaching Forum
Definition of Executive Coaching
Executive coaching is an experiential and individualized leader development process that builds a leader’s capability to achieve short- and long-term organizational goals. It is conducted through one-on-one and/or group interactions, driven by data from multiple perspectives, and based on mutual trust and respect. The organization, an executive, and the executive coach work in partnership to achieve maximum impact.
The Graduate School Alliance of Executive Coaching (GSAEC) involved in efforts to set standards for graduate coach training.
GSAEC Definition of Executive and organizational coaching:
A development process that builds a leader’s capabilities to achieve professional and organizational goals. A leader is an individual who has the potential of making a significant contribution to the mission and purpose of the organization. This coaching is conducted through one-on-one and group interactions, driven by evidence/data from multiple perspectives, and is based on mutual trust and respect. The coach, individuals being coached, and their organizations work in partnership to help achieve the agreed upon goals of the coaching. Where to Learn How to be a Coach So you want to learn how to coach? There is a multitude of training organizations and graduate programs specifically designed to help you develop coaching competencies.
For executive coaching, the executive coaching forum has the following definition of coaching
The Executive Coaching Forum promote the best practices, ethical guidelines and understanding of Executive Coaching for all members of the "coaching partnership" (the coach, the executive being coached, and the executive's organization) as well as with the general public to enhance leadership and organizational effectiveness. What follows is from their handbook.
"Perhaps from a more tangible perspective, six distinguished psychologists and executives offer insights on what is coaching and what it takes to be a great executive coach."
The Executive Coaching Handbook: Principles and Guidelines for a Successful Coaching Partnership
The IOC is a global community of coaches.