Defining Coaching

Coaching is used to support individuals in achieving results beyond what they believe is currently possible.  It is about ‘people’ with the focus on the coachee.  It is driven by their goals.

In sport, we are constantly breaking new records.  Someone wanting to run a certain distance in a particular time will often have a coach.  Initially, the coach may be there simply to establish if their goal is both realistic and also a personal stretch.  The goal will vary greatly whether the coach is coaching an Olympic runner or a disabled person wishing to run their first race.  The coach provides both emotional and practical support.  For example, in the minutes coming up to the run, the coach may help the runner focus their mind to generate a positive attitude, as well as warm up and remember a few specific tips for the race.


Coaching is now frequently used in business where the basic principles of sports coaching are applied to business situations.  These principles include:

  • Focusing on the individuals development rather than weaknesses
  • Helping them design both realistic and yet stretching goals
  • Encouraging and supporting them in experimenting in new areas of knowledge, skill or attitude
  • Building on an individual’s strengths and resources.

Given that companies have people, not only as their major resource and differentiation, but also as drivers of change – the individual is a powerful place to start. Coaching brings appropriate learning, change and development to the work place.


Coaching is used to:

  • Help people work out their goals
  • Own and commit to their goals
  • Improve performance
  • Develop in new areas
  • Build self confidence and self esteem
  • Develop more effective behaviours
  • Identify and reduce perceived barriers to success
  • Maximise potential

Coaching is not effective:

  • As a punishment for poor performance
  • As an isolated event
  • As a replacement for training
  • As a replacement for counselling
  • When confused with mentoring


“No one is so good they can’t get better”Nick Faldo, London Times 1993 prior to winning the Masters for the second time