Coaching is right on trend. It seems that every other person I meet is a coach. Perhaps I am noticing them more now I am a coach myself, like when I was pregnant it seemed every other woman around me was too.

Now, there is some confusion about what coaching is and especially what it isn’t. Hence this post to provide some clarity.

On the whole, there are 3 types of coaching:

1. Sports coaching – where the coach works with their client to be better at their chosen sport.

2. Skills-based coaching (or mentoring) – where the coach provides insights and advice to help their client perform better at an agreed set of skills (for example – how to lead an agile team, communication skills, or helping employees transition through change).

3. ‘Life’ coaching – Where the coach works with their client to discover who they are and help them work towards a specific goal they have set (executive coaching also falls under this segment).

A coach can be active in more than one segment. I know coaches who have had a successful sports coaching career and have transferred those skills to life coaching. I myself am active in both the skills-based coaching (change management coaching) and life coaching.

I find that most people are pretty familiar and comfortable with the first 2 types of coaching. It is a teacher-pupil relationship that we have all experienced in some shape of form in the past.

The third type, life coaching, is harder for people to understand. So let me give you an analogy:

Imagine you are learning to ride a bicycle.

A skills-based coach will tell you the mechanics and intricacies of how you need to ride a bike. They might ask you to read a book about it and will also have you practice the skill until you are off.

A life coach will ask you what you would like to achieve and have you set small and large goals. Then he or she will get on a bike beside you and ride with you until you are ready to ride on your own.

Has this analogy provided you with a clearer insight of what coaching is? I image that for many it hasn’t. The thing is that it is quite tough to explain in words. The closest I can come to a definition is this:

Life coaching consists of 2 parts. The first is to discover and learn all about who you are and what fulfils you. The second is to move towards your goals and a fulfilled life.

The only real way to ‘get’ it though is to try it out for yourself. A good life coach will always offer you a free ‘sample’ or ‘chemistry’ session. It is an opportunity for both of you to see if you can work together.

Want to know more? Book a sample session with me here.

Please feel free to add your own experience, questions or comments. I love a good discussion!


What is coaching?