What is Coaching

There are an infinite number of ways to view the purpose and process of coaching. Some believe that you hire a coach because they are a SME (subject matter expert) and can tell you exactly what to do in a specific situation (consulting). Some believe that a coach is like a counselor who imparts advice and wisdom in challenging situations (advisor). Others view coaching as closely guided instruction where you learn new skills by following formulas developed by the coach (teaching). And still there is another view of coaching, where coaches are seen as models of success and examples of what to do next (role modeling).

These are all useful lenses from which to view coaching but there’s something more to it. While a coach might certainly wear all of these hats at one point or another, a coach can never be an expert in your life; no one but you can fully know the extent of your skills and potential or the depth and complexity of your relationships at home, at work, or in your personal life. That’s why coaching must be more than a transfer of knowledge from coach to client; a coach must help you develop your own resources and set your own course of action.

Anthony Grant, leading researcher in coaching psychology, proposes a new definition and model for the coaching relationship that speaks to this “other” nature of coaching:

“Coaching is a collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of goal attainment, performance, self-directed learning and personal growth of other individuals.” (Grant & Green, 2001)

Let’s break this down:

Coaching is collaborative and solution focused.
Forward movement is a distinguishing trait between coaching and therapy. While therapy is primarily problem-focused (dissecting difficult situations in the past), coaching is solution-focused, meaning it is future bound and hope based. As your coach, we work together to find new ways forward.

Coaching is a results-oriented systematic process.
While coaching may involve periods of preparing for action, it is overall a results-oriented undertaking. Being willing to change is not enough; we must do something, reflect on the results of those actions, and then modify our next steps. In this way, coaching is systematic. There is a process and for how we set goals and design action plans, and my methodology is supported with evidence-based science.

Coaching facilitates…
As a facilitator, I help my clients dissect ideas, form independent thoughts, and own the self-development process. By using reflection and dialogue, I guide my clients through the process of change, helping them test new ideas and make meaning from those experiences. Importantly, I also provide support and validation so that learning, failing, and succeeding are celebrated as part of the learning process. Unlike consulting which emphasizes expert advice giving over self-directed learning, my job is to teach you to fish – not merely give you one.

… the enhancement of goal attainment.
How far and how quickly we advance toward your goal.

… performance.
The means by which we advance toward your goal.

… self-directed learning.
Your commitment to learning and initiative related to needs assessment, goal development, implementation, and evaluation of outcomes.

…personal growth of other individuals.
The growth process by which all people make meaning from experiences and integrate that meaning into their sense of self, others, and society.


If you’re ready to to find out more, read About the Coach or get started with a free 20 min discovery session by filling out the contact form


Grant, A. M., & Green, J. (2001). Coach yourself: Make real change in your life. London: Momentum Press.