What exactly is Coaching? It is difficult to narrowly define but I will give some definitions that I feel accurately reflect the Profession:


From an article differentiating various professional modalities courtesy of the International Coach Federation (ICF):


  • “Mentoring: Passing on wisdom and experience while also giving advice and helping make connections.
  • Managing: Responsibility for giving direction and evaluating performance.
  • Counseling: Collecting history, assessing, determining condition of mental health, and providing guidance.
  • Therapy: Treatment of a disorder to resolve problematic behaviors or feelings.
  • Consulting: Assessing the situation and providing expert advice.
  • Leading: Sharing a vision, pushing for and inspiring action, and making decisions.
  • Coaching: Partnering to empower a client in exploring their possibilities, planning to move past challenges, developing their strategies, creating their own action plan, and managing their accountability”  1


1) ICF on the Benefits of Using a Coach:

“Professional coaching brings many wonderful benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence. And, the list does not end there. Those who undertake coaching also can expect appreciable improvement in productivity, satisfaction with life and work, and the attainment of relevant goals” 2


2) Integrative Health Coaching (IHC) Definition:

“A client-centered, relational approach to working with individuals collaboratively to address the health and wellbeing of the whole person. It acknowledges the interdependent roles of mind, body and spirit, and the innate healing capacity within each person, with an emphasis on self-care. An integrative health coach forms a partnership with individuals or groups to empower and support them in achieving their personal goals related to optimal health and wellness” 3


3) From the Coaching Psychology Manual:

“Despite nuances of perspective and emphasis, [the] definitions of coaching share a common denominator: relationship. Coaching is a growth-fostering relationship that enables clients to reach their goals and fulfill their visions” 4


4) A definition on the ‘Artwork of Listening’ to another human being:

“Good listening does not involve instructing or directing, agreeing or disagreeing, persuading or advising, warning or analyzing. It has no agenda to achieve other than seeing and understanding the world through the other’s eyes … [Good listening] communicates, “I won’t change or push you. I trust your wisdom about yourself, and I’ll let you work this out in your own time and at your own pace”” 5


5) Generic Sample Coaching Agreement:

“Description: Coaching is partnership (defined as an alliance, not a legal business partnership) between the Coach and the Client in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires the client to maximize personal and professional potential.




  1. Coach agrees to maintain the ethics and standards of behavior set by the International Coach Federation “(ICF)”. www.coachfederation.org/ethics


  1. Client is responsible for creating and implementing his/her own physical, mental and emotional well-being, decisions, choices, actions and results. As such, the Client agrees that the Coach is not and will not be liable for any actions or inaction, or for any direct or indirect result of any services provided by the Coach. Client understands coaching is not therapy and does not substitute for therapy if needed, and does not prevent, cure, or treat any mental disorder or medical disease.


  1. Client understands that coaching is not to be used as a substitute for professional advice by legal, mental, medical or other qualified professionals and will seek independent professional guidance for such matters. If Client is currently under the care of a mental health professional, Coach will recommend that Client inform the mental health care provider.


  1. Client agrees to communicate honestly, be open to feedback and assistance and create the time and energy to participate fully in the program” 6


I have provided some overarching definitions of what Coaching means; however, as each Client is a unique individual, so is the Coach involved, and thus every Coaching partnership will vary from one another. My personal style as a Coach will inevitably resonate with some and not with others. For those that do resonate with me, we can craft a Professional Partnership (an Alliance), where both myself (Coach) and the Client will discuss and define our respective roles in the partnership before we move forward together. The amount of work required in the partnership will be split 50-50 during Coaching meetings and the outcomes of the Coaching meetings (respective Client insights, goal-setting, and action-planning) will thereafter become the sole responsibility of the Client to properly integrate and implement into their lives as they see fit; the Coach works with the Client to create accountability and will follow up with the Client at a later date if the Client so chooses. In other words, the Coach holds space and acts as a guide while maintaining the full agenda of the Client, hence the Client is free to explore as much or as little of their present reality as they wish.







  1. For more information see: https://coachfederation.org/blog/index.php/9258/
  2. For more information see: https://www.coachfederation.org/
  3. See: https://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/education/lifestyle/im_health_coaching.html
  4. See Page 5 on site: http://www.wellcoach.com/memberships/images/Chapter-2.pdf
  5. Motivational Interviewing in Health Care – Rollnick, Miller & Butler, 2008, p. 14
  6. For complete document (Alliance) see: https://images.template.net/wp-content/…/class-files-Life-Coaching-Agreement.doc

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