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What is Coaching?

The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Coaching frames conversations through powerful questions that help clients achieve their desired outcomes. When you refer to the International Coach Federation’s definition of coaching or one of your own, notice how the following philosophical threads are woven into ICF’s definition. Consider what a coach might say or do to embed these ideals into a coaching conversation or relationship.

1  |  Coaching is a  partnership.

The coach and the client are involved in a collaborative process that is totally focused on the person being coached. The coach must create a safe, trusting environment that provides opportunities for fresh perspectives and new ways of being can be explored.  Coaches walk alongside their clients, seeking to unlock their potential and increase their impact.

2  |  Coaching accelerates what’s already underway.

Coaches have a mindset of curiosity and wonder as they help clients tap into their passions and preferred futures. Through deep listening and powerful questions, the coach helps the other person gain greater clarity about what they really want and what goals and strategies they need to employ to get there.

3  |  Coaching maximizes potential and possibilities.

Coaches maximize potential as they move clients from what is to what might be. Coaches look for and develop the strengths, gifts, and possibilities of their clients. They help clients move forward, learn from their results, and make course corrections based on new knowledge.

4  |  Coaching sparks transformation.

Transformation often shows up through the completion of short-term wins and changes in the “4 As” – shifts people’s attitudes, assumptions, words, and actions. These shifts often include trying on new habits and ways of being or helping people recognize limiting beliefs that may be holding them back from experiencing a better, brighter future. There’s a strong emphasis on what clients do NEXT so that intentions become reality.  You might hear other coaches say, “If there’s no change taking place, then you’re not coaching.

5  |  Coaches view their clients as experts.

Effective coaching draws out the strengths and wisdom of the client. They help clients identify where they can find the resources they need to move forward.

potential client?


Jim Ladoux is the Director of Coaching services at Vibrant Faith. You can learn more about Jim’s work here.

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