When defining what coaching is, there are common core themes (Brennan, D., & Prior, D. M. (2005). The future of coaching as a profession: The next five years 2005–2010. Lexington, KY: International Coach Federation):

  • a collaborative and egalitarian rather than authoritarian relationship between coach and coachee;

  • a focus on constructing solutions and goal attainment processes, rather than solely analyzing problems;

  • the assumption that clients do not have clinically significant mental health problems;

  • an emphasis on collaborative goal setting;

  • the recognition that although coaches have expertise in facilitating learning through coaching, they do not necessarily need high levels of domain-specific expertise in the coachee’s chosen area of learning;

  • is more about asking the right questions than telling people what to do;

  • the coaching process is seen as being a systematic process, and is typically directed at fostering the ongoing self-directed learning and personal growth of the coachee (client).

Reduced to its essence, executive coaching is the process of equipping people with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need to develop themselves and become more effective.

Executive coaching involves the teaching of skills in the context of a personal relationship with the learner, and providing feedback on the executive’s interpersonal relations and skills.

An ongoing series of activities tailored to the individual’s current issues or relevant problem is designed by the coach to assist the executive in maintaining a consistent, confident focus as he or she tunes strengths and manages short-comings.

– Douglas, C., & Morley, W. (2000). Executive coaching: An annotated bibliography. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

The aim of executive or life coaching is sustained cognitive, emo- tional, and behavioral changes that facilitate goal attainment and per- formance enhancement, either in one’s work or in one’s personal life.

– Douglas, C. A., & McCauley, C. D. (1999). Formal developmental relationships: A survey of organizational practices. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 10(3), 203–220.

Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.

– Whitmore, J. (1992). Coaching for performance. London: Nicholas Brealey.

A coach is a person who facilitates experiential learning that results in future- oriented abilities. . . . [A coach] refers to a person who is a trusted role model, adviser, wise person, friend, mensch, steward, or guide—a person who works with emerging human and organizational forces to tap new energy and purpose, to shape new vision and plans, and to generate desired results. A coach is someone trained and devoted to guiding others into increased competence, commitment, and confidence.

– Hudson, F. M. (1999). The handbook of coaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Executive coaching is defined as a helping relationship formed between a client who has managerial authority and responsibility in an organization and a consultant who uses a wide variety of behavioral techniques and methods to assist the client to achieve a mutually identified set of goals to improve his or her professional performance and personal satisfaction and consequently to improve the effectiveness of the client’s organization within a formally defined coaching agreement.

– Kilburg, R. R. (2000). Executive coaching: Developing managerial wisdom in a world of chaos. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Executive coaching is an experiential and individualized leader development process that builds a leader’s capability to achieve short- and long- term organizational goals. It is conducted through one-on-one and/or group interactions, driven by data from multiple perspectives, and based on mutual trust and respect. The organization, an executive, and the executive coach work in partnership to achieve maximum impact.

– Executive Coaching Forum. (2008). The executive coaching handbook. Available at: www. executivecoachingforum.com

Psychological skills and methods are employed in a one-on-one relationship to help someone become a more effective manager or leader. These skills are typically applied to specific present-moment work-related issues (rather than general personal problems or psychopathology) in a way that enables this client to incorporate them into his or her permanent management or leadership repertoire.

– Bruce Peltier, The psychology of Executive Coaching, Theory And Application, Routledge