So what’s Your Definition of Coaching?

The ICF’s (International Coaching Federation’s) definition of coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Well I just have to say “God bless ‘em.” But I know that W. Edwards Deming would ask for an operational definition, which is to say a definition which lays out specific operational processes by which it can be determined if the activity has been properly carried out or not. So, let’s step back and start again.

What Is a Useful Operational Definition of Coaching?

I would say that the desired result of coaching is for the client to experience significant progress toward their goals through the combined efforts of the coach and the client. Clearly, defining the client’s goals, early on, is a key part of the process. After that, identifying any barriers that the client is experiencing in achieving those goals also is key. And that is when the real coaching begins.

Got Their Goals. Got Their Attention. So what now?

As I said, this is when the real coaching begins. And if that is the case, we must be very close to the definition of coaching. So what is it? OK! I’ll tell you: after you help them define their goals and after you help them figure out their barriers, let the coaching begin!

So Let the Coaching Begin!

Let the coaching begin and let’s just figure out the definition of coaching. Tap into your knowledge of assessment coaching. You did have them complete an assessment, didn’t you? Tap into your knowledge of strategy coaching. You did determine their own sense of how they were meeting the four fundamental human needs, didn’t you? And then you apply the principles of accountability coaching, and helped them confront the barriers that hold then back from achieving their goals, didn’t you? Well if you didn’t have positive answers to these questions, then you need more than a dictionary and a blog post to determine the definition of coaching. Don’t you.

Special Bonus – Learn 3 simple ways to become a life coach with the30-Days to Become a Coach” video toolkit when you fill in the form at the top right and click theWatch The Videos Now button. You’ll learn how to change your client’s life in 45 minutes.

Dave Iuppa
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach

The Definition of Coaching – 31 Words or Phrases to Define a Coach

Scouring the Internet, you will find many different experts providing their opinion on the definition of coaching. None of them are wrong and almost all of them are right – coaching means different things to different people. The are a million and one definitions of coaching and all of them have some validity.

There are also many words or phrases that can be used when composing a definition of coaching. Once again, you may not agree with all of them, and I may not agree with all of them, but it doesn’t make them wrong. A coach can mean many different things to many different people – that’s why the field is so wide open for creative people to hang out a shingle and become an effective and highly sought-after coach. Coaches have many different styles and work in a variety of different niches. It is a great field because you can be who you want to be while helping people and making money!

The Definition of a Coach- 31 Definitions

  1. Motivator
  2. Inspirational leader
  3. Mentor
  4. Performance enhancer
  5. Babysitter ( yes, some coaches do this!)
  6. Assessor
  7. Evaluator
  8. Problem solver
  9. Problem finder
  10.  Instructor
  11. Educator
  12. Tutor
  13. Consultant
  14. Counselor, but not exactly
  15. Confidant
  16. Sort of a therapist, but not really
  17. Trainer
  18. Advisor
  19. Someone who gets you to do things you wouldn’t do by yourself
  20. Someone who gets you to think about things you would never think about without some serious prodding
  21. Spiritual guide
  22. Behavior modifier
  23. Peer mentor
  24. Someone who helps a client set goals you could really set yourself but you have no idea where to begin
  25. Someone with professional experience who can provide guidance in a time of crisis
  26. Some who gets paid to listen to your whining and complaining
  27. Someone who gets paid to offer suggestions, exercises, opinions, assessments, and guidance after you are done whining and complaining
  28. Facilitator
  29. Trainer
  30. Motivational speaker
  31. Someone with the knowledge, skills, passion, and intuition to help you assess your life, determine your strengths and weaknesses, analyze your situation, figure out your passions, prod you into articulating your goals and dreams, and then give you a bunch of BS as to how you need to figure out the pathway to success, achievement, and happiness

Yes, a coach cannot do it all. It is a partnership in which the coach provides some professional expertise, specific knowledge, and passion for helping people, while the client provides the dedication, determination, and ultimately the solutions. The definition of a coach doesn’t include doing for someone what they can do for themselves. The definition of coaching doesn’t include providing someone with the answers, but it does include helping someone find the answers themselves. Coaching is dynamic, adaptable, and vital. Coaching has many definitions – choose one definition that works for you and become the best coach you can be.

By the way… you’re invited to claim your FREE step-by-step “Life Coaching Business Blueprint” video toolkit. Just go HERE now to get your life coaching business blueprint videos.

Dave Iuppa
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach

What is the Definition of Coaching?

Whether you are a potential coach or a potential client, it is good to have a clear definition of coaching. To come up with a good definition of coaching, it helps to know what coaching isn’t.

What Coaching Isn’t

Coaching isn’t consulting. Consultants often have experience in one specific area and are hired to solve a problem in that certain area. Consulting is specific while coaching can be both general and specific. Consulting is narrow; coaching is broad. Consulting is restricted; coaching is unconfined.

Coaching is sometimes similar to mentoring, but not quite. Being a mentor is more like being a teacher; a mentor-student relationship is very similar to a teacher-student relationship, which is not the same as a coach-client relationship. A coach-client relationship is more balanced and coequal than that of a teacher and student.

Coaching is definitely not therapy. Though it may seem like it with certain needy clients, a definition of coaching does not include being a therapist. The use of psychology in your practice is not uncommon, but therapy is not what you do as a coach! If your clients want therapy, tell them to look elsewhere!

What Coaching Is

There are many possible definitions of coaching, and it may mean different things to different people. However, to better understand the definition of coaching, it is good to see what the two primary governing coaching bodies have to say about defining their profession.

To paraphrase the ICF (International Coaching Federation) definition, coaching is partnering with your clients to inspire and motivate them to maximize their professional and personal potential.

To paraphrase the ICA (International Coach Academy), the definition of coaching is a collaboration between the coach and the client to help clarify their values and achieve their goals. The ultimate goal is to help the client achieve a fulfilling life.

From these definitions, we can conclude that coaching can be defined as:

  • a collaboration between client and coach to create roadmaps and strategies for success in a client’s professional and personal life.
  • a method of motivating and inspiring clients to identify, clarify, and achieve their goals.
  • a tool to help clients create a life or career plan that promotes success, health, and happiness.

One Powerful Definition of Coaching

Therapy and counseling often look to the past to find issues and problems. Once the problems are identified, therapists and counselors attempt to understand and heal these issues. However, coaching looks to the future to make someone’s life better and more fulfilling. Coaching begins with a client’s desire for personal and professional improvement and success. Coaching is not about why clients got to where they are; it is about how to get them from their current place to the place they desire to be in the future. Unlike consulting and therapy, which often looks backward and is reactive, coaching is forward thinking and proactive.

One More Definition of Coaching

Coaching is belief, tools, and leadership. Coaching starts with belief; belief that people can solve their own issues and ameliorate their life if given the right guidance and tools. Once these tools are presented, the coach uses leadership skills to help the client correctly use and apply them. Belief, tools, and leadership – that’s coaching!

By the way… you’re invited to claim your FREE step-by-step “Master Coach Blueprint” video toolkit. Just go HERE now to get your master coach blueprint videos.

Fred Philips
Business Coach
Writing Team, Coaches Training Blog Community

Can Anyone Tell Me the Definition of Coaching?

My musing on the definition of coaching

Can you define what a coach is? When thinking about what the definition of coaching is it got me wondering how did we ever get pegged with the title “coach”? The main picture that comes to mind when I think of a coach is a sports coach. You know, the coach is the loud guy on the side lines yelling out commands to the players… the one who pushes them hard through their workouts… the guy who expects more of his players than they think they are capable of. I just don’t picture myself as that guy.

Comparison between sports coaching and life coaching

However, upon further scrutiny and thought, I do see some similarities between life coaching and a sports coach. There’s more to a sports coach than I have described above. Let’s take a football coach for example; he is assumed to know more about the game having had previous experience and knowledge, and his job is to transfer as much of his knowledge and experience to the players as he can. (This compares to our life and professional experience.) The football coach studies playing techniques and tailors a game plan to his players according to their strengths and weaknesses. (This compares to discovering our client’s strengths and weaknesses and focusing on their strengths.)

In sports, the coach sees the potential of each player and tries to make sure each one is in the right position. (This compares to finding out our clients passion and getting them in the right place.) The football coach pushes his players until they stretch beyond their comfort zone. He makes them practice over and over until they get good at the game. (This compares to us helping our clients stretch beyond their limiting beliefs and helping them take risks.) The sports coach holds his players accountable. He expects them to give their best, to show up to practice on time and to put in more hours of personal practice outside of team practice. (This compares to holding clients accountable to their action plan as well as showing up to coaching sessions.)

Oh my, I digress from the definition! However, there are striking similarities between life coaching and sports coaching after all. And now, going back to my original question. What is the definition of coaching?

Here’s my definition of coaching.

There are just about as many definitions of coach styles as there are types of coaches which is a lot. But this is how I see it, coaching is the practice of supporting a person who is being coached, referred to as a client or a coachee, through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result. There are many methodologies and mindsets, types or niches but predominantly each methodology uses the same structure to facilitate the end result, that being the coach mainly listens and asks questions until a shift or transformation occurs. Then the coachee is challenged to take action on that with the coach holding them accountable.

Coaches move their client from the present to the future and they don’t worry about the past. This differs from therapy which is mostly focused on looking at the clients past, or consulting in that the counselor gives information about the ‘how to’s’, or a mentor who imparts wisdom and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague, or tutors who are teachers, or counselors who give advice.

If you have further observations on the definition of coaching, please post your comments below.

SPECIAL BONUSIf you would like step-by-step blueprints for generating a massive income from high paying coaching clients, I invite you to claim your FREE ACCESS to the “Life Coach Salary Secrets” video toolkit. Go HERE to get it FREE.

Dana Bosley
Spiritual Growth Coach
Writing team, Coaches Training Blog Community

The Definition of Coaching: The Four Traits of a Master Career Coach

What is the definition of coaching?  Coaching is about results.  Whether you are a career coach, or another type of coach, the definition of coaching is directly related to the results your clients receive and your evolution as a coach. To make the definition of coaching more tangible it is necessary to explain it in terms of the four traits of a master career coach.   

Career Coach Traits Help to Illustrate the Definition of Coaching


1.  Outstanding results:  

A master career coach consistently produces outstanding results.  Results are key within the definition of coaching.  Master career coaches stand out from the crowd when coaching clients in their area of practice. 

2.  Effortless Results: 

Master career coaches perform and make it look effortless to create situations that seem impossible for other coaches.  They expend little effort.  This is one of the reasons the “free session” is so much more valuable than simply telling prospective clients what the definition of coaching means.  Many people won’t understand what coaching is all about until they actually experience it.

3.  Total Freedom and Power.  

A master career coach has the ability to wield their coaching skills in any direction and in increasingly powerful ways creating results without limits.  A master career coach can get results with anyone.  The definition of coaching may seem a little vague because, even within a niche practice there are endless results you can achieve.  There are just so many areas in which you can coach during a single coaching session that it can be difficult to narrow down the definition of coaching.

4.  Their Identity is Coaching:

Career coaches are their craft.  They become one with their coaching; a distinction between the individual and the coach no longer exists. When you think of Michael Jordan you think of basketball.  When you’re a career coach, you’re always a coach.  If something goes wrong in a casual situation, the coach inside comes out.  In this way, the definition of coaching is similar to the definition of a being a doctor.  Doctors do not slump into their seats when there is an emergency on an airplane they take action; they become a doctor.  

Results Are Key to the Definition of Coaching


In any definition of coaching, the key is results.  When looking at a tangible example of a master career coach you see that coaching is not just about what you help others to accomplish; it’s about who you and your clients become in the process.

Colette Seymann

JTS Advisors Designated Accountability Coach

Whats the Definition of Coaching: What do I Need to Become a Life Coach?


What’s the definition of coaching and what do you need to become a life coach? According to Wikipedia, the definition of coaching is “A method of directing, instructing and training a person or group of people, with the aim to achieve some goal or develop specific skills.” But to me, the definition of coaching and what you need to become a life coach is much more than that.

Although Nobody is in “Need” to Become a Life Coach, The Definition of Coaching is About Commitment


What’s mdefinition of coaching? It’s about being totally committed to helping someone to get a result. And not just any result, but one that is truly valuable to your client and your client’s needs at that time. You need to become a life coach who is committed to going beyond where we are comfortable and what seems possible, and lead others to do the same.

You Need to Become a Life Coach Who Does More Than Solve Problems: The Greater Definition of Coaching


Did you notice that there was nothing about solving problems in that definition of coaching? Too many times we fail to really make a stand for our clients, and we settle for solving problems. Sometimes that can be valuable, but we need to become a life coach who knows the difference between a big problem which is an obstacle and a little problem which is a distraction. If a problem needs to be addressed, handle it quickly and then move on to getting a result. You don’t want to break rapport by telling someone their problem isn’t important enough to work on, but you can ask questions to re-frame the problem and get an idea of how significant it is. They key here is to clarify, and not to take the bait and run with it when there are “bigger fishes to fry”.

So what is your definition of coaching? And what do you need to become a life coach who lives up to your own standards?

Colette Seymann

Designated Accountability Coach, JTS Advisors

Do We Need a Definition of Coaching? NLP Life Coaching Takes the Test

Do we Really Need a Definition of Coaching?

One of the problems that the industry of professional life coaching seems to have is an identity crisis.  Wether it’s co-active coaching or NLP life coaching, no one seems to know just what the definition of coaching really is.  I was at a party tonight and people were asking me questions when I told them that I ran a coaching company.  They asked things like, “What do you teach?”.  “Are you about marketing?”.  “Do you motivate people?”  I always knew that life coaching and it’s brethren have lots of misconceptions in the ‘real world’ about what we do and how we do it.  

You would think that having a definition of coaching would help this little identity crisis.  If we could only DEFINE this thing called executive coaching or life coaching or whatever, then we could help people understand what it is and what life coaching is about.  I guess in a way we’d be supplying life coaching training to everyone, and they would see us just as any other profession.  

Although the definition of coaching is simple, and discusses everything you’d hope (working together to produce a specific result, etc.)  Those same misconceptions and mistakes that my new friends at the party had would still be there, even if they knew the ‘certified’ definition of coaching.   

NLP Life Coaching Takes the Test

Look at something more specific, like NLP life coaching.  there are tons of techniques that NLP life coaching envelops.  NLP originally was a modeling technology, but then people began to mistake it for therapeutic techniques.  Now people look at NLP life coaching as hypnosis or manipulation mind tricks.  How far can you go off the deep end trying to define something as broad as NLP life coaching?  The trouble is that NLP life coaching is even more specifically defined in terms of the skills and results involved that just general coaching doesn’t have to deal with.  The definition of coaching wont help with clarity around coaching and a further definition won’t help with clarity about NLP.   

The Definition of Coaching Still Lives On…

No matter how much the definition of coaching eludes or clarifies itself to us, the ephemeral and mercurial  art of coaching is going to have to cover a lot of ground.  It’s a big job, and the only thing that we as coaches can do about it is to learn as many of the techniques as possible and then really commit to helping our clients at the highest level with those same NLP life coaching techniques.  

Jeffrey T. Sooey

CEO, JTS Advisors