What is Coaching?

Coaching is a powerful tool to help individuals reach their fullest potential and make changes in their work and life. 

But not all coaches are created equal. There are many coaching models, types of qualifications and levels of experience. 

It’s worth asking your potential coach about their depth of knowledge.

Some will have qualified at a recognised university. Some won’t. Others have a strong history of success — while some have a strong Instagram game.

It’s always worth having a discovery consultation with your potential coach. This blog will give you a brief guide about what coaching is, and what to look for in a coach. 

coaching psychology at sonas with Georgie Browne

There are many areas of coaching and many ways to define the practice. As the field has developed and grown so have the organisations and associations within the coaching area.

I’ve selected some definitions from coaches, authors and accredited coaching associations to help define what coaching is. 

Tim Gallwey coach and author of The Inner Game, defines the essence of coaching as...

"unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance – helping them to learn rather than teaching them"

Myles Downey executive coach, suggest it is...

"the art of facilitating the performance, development and learning of another"

According to Douglas & McCauley...

"The aim of executive or life coaching is sustained cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes that facilitate goal attainment and performance enhancement, either in one’s work or in one’s personal life"

The International Coaching Federation (ICF)

recently defined coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential"

What is Life Coaching? 

Life Coaching helps individuals to define and achieve their goals. It is a collaborative approach, where a coach works closely with clients, guiding them with questions to help them gain clarity, overcome obstacles, and make meaningful strides in various areas of their lives. Whether personal growth, career advancement, or improved relationships, the right life coach can provide valuable support in navigating life’s challenges. There is a story that relates to the coaching journey and why it’s method works — called The Butterfly’s Struggle, which might be a useful analogy. 

What is Coaching Psychology?

Coaching Psychology is a specialised branch within Applied Psychology that offers a scientifically-proven route where coaches are trained in techniques and valuable interventions to support their coachees. Coaching Psychology practitioners deeply understand human behaviour and skillfully integrate evidence-based practices into their coaching sessions. This unique approach blends science and empathy, creating an environment conducive to positive and sustainable change. Coaching psychologists hold a master’s or doctorate level qualification in Applied Psychology from a recognised university. 

What is Executive Coaching? 

Executive Coaching services focus on optimising corporate skills such as sales performance and leadership. It’s a specialised type of coaching which helps professionals who want to reach new heights in their careers and achieve exceptional results. Generally speaking, an executive coach will have a decade-plus of managerial experience. 

What’s the difference between Coaching and Mentoring?

Coaching and mentoring are valuable approaches that empower individuals towards growth but have distinct characteristics and purposes. Coaching emphasises self-discovery and personal development. The coaches support the coachee in finding their answers. Conversely, mentoring involves more direct guidance, drawing from the mentor’s experiences to provide practical advice. Both approaches have their strengths, and a combination of coaching and mentoring can offer a comprehensive support system.

What is the difference between Psychotherapy, Clinical Psychology and Coaching Psychology?

Therapy exists to relieve emotional distress. It delves into past experiences and can support overcoming trauma. Clinical psychologists can diagnose psychological and mental health disorders. If you are looking for a therapist, the online directory at the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) is an excellent place to go. 

While Coaching Psychology is future-oriented and focuses on setting and achieving goals, the techniques will also support your mental and emotional well-being. Coaching Psychology uncovers your strengths and helps you find solutions. While it is not a replacement for therapy, it can be a complementary approach. A qualified and competent professional supports you in moving forward and achieving your aspirations.

Finding Your Ideal Coach: The Coaching Journey Ahead

As you embark on your coaching journey, understanding the nuances between coaching methodologies is important. Whether you choose Life Coaching, Coaching Psychology, Executive Coaching or Mentoring, ensure good synergy and energy with your coach. 

Finding your ideal fit involves exploring your individual needs and preferences, ultimately leading you to the coaching experience that resonates best with you.

My Coaching journey with Georgie has been an amazing experience. Her warmth & positivity is completely contagious; she has this innate ability to make you feel better about yourself and the world around you. Georgie also has this unique natural ability to help you focus on what you need for your happiness (even if you're not sure what that is yourself). I have learnt so much about myself & what is important to me. As well as learning how to stop, slow down & live in the present & appreciate everything we have and the world around us(through mindfulness). Anyone be it an individual or a team looking for career coaching or just finding happiness & calm at work, look no further; Georgie will light up the room & make you feel completely at ease immediately.
Celine Kinch
Senior Financial Accountant, Towercom