What is coaching? (Coaching Series: Part1)

Michael Kogutek

Michael Kogutek


I will be writing a series of blog posts in the coming months focusing on the many facets of coaching. The goal is to give you all the information possible so you can make an informed choice if coaching is for you.

Frequently I am asked to tell folks what coaching is about. This first blog post is an attempt to answer that question. I must warn you that there are many definitions of coaching.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF), founded in 1992, the most prominent credentialing and governing body of coaches says, “Coaching is an ongoing relationship which focuses on clients taking action toward the realization of their visions, goals and desires.” The key word here is relationship. It is a relationship totally focused on the agenda of the client.

Another way to define coaching is to state what it is not. Coaching is not therapy. It does not focus on the past or tries to fix. Coaching emphasizes the future, the gifts and talents of each client. It is not consulting. Consultants tell you the problem and the related solutions. They may even fix the problem for you. In coaching, the answers lie within the client. The client inherently knows the way. Also coaching differs from mentoring. Mentors give informal advice and are usually traveling farther on the same road. Curious questions and inquiry drive the coaching process.

The Blessing White (2009)* definition is, “Coaching is helping another person figure out the best way to achieve his or her goals, develop skill sets or expertise and produce the results the organization needs.” Coaching is not telling someone what to do. It is not stepping in to actually do the work.

The bottom line for me is that coaching is a dynamic ongoing relationship in which the client owns and directs the agenda. It is future oriented and demands accountability by the coach and client. It seeks to capitalize on the strengths, gifts and talents of the client.

I hope you will consider getting a coach. If you are a manager with a non-profit organization in Orange County, you can apply here at ECOC. The price is right; it is FREE! Our team of coaches are prepared to take you where you want and dream to go.

You may ask, “Why do I need a coach?” I think we all do. Ask LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady. They all have one. They have one thing in common, they want to improve and fulfill their goals.

*BlessingWhite(2009) “The Coaching Conundrum”