Module: What is Coaching?

An ICF accredited tutorial introducing the history and current foundations of coaching. Recommended learning for anyone considering coach training.

Coaching is similar, yet quite different, to other methodologies!

As a coach you will be an advocate, a sounding board, a cheerleader, an accountability partner, a truth teller and a supporter.

Coaching involves a dialogue between a coach and a client with the aim of supporting the client to reach a goal. It blends the best concepts from business, psychology, philosophy, sports and spirituality. But, while coaching borrows heavily from those practices, it is a distinctly different support role to that of a consultant, therapist or mentor.  The coaching we teach at ICA is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and aligned with the ICF Core Competencies.

As a coach you will help your clients to discover the answers within themselves.  During this process the coach will help a client clarify their values, beliefs, feelings, perceptions and ideas, and will hold a safe space for them to identify their barriers, challenges, strengths, knowledge, and skills.  Opportunities for shifting limiting beliefs or reframing perspectives will be identified. 

Part of being a good coach is knowing when and when not to coach. If the client needs therapy or consultation then the job of a coach is to refer to the appropriate colleague.

Download ResourceWHAT IS COACHING?


You have a destination in mind and can get there by walking or riding a bike. You decide to go by bike because it seems to be a quicker option.

A consultant will tell you where to sit, where to put your feet, when to pedal, and when to brake (and then leaves you on your own). 

A therapist explains why it is important for your self-esteem to successfully ride the bike. 

A mentor shares with you their experience or expertise of cycling and advises the most effective way they have found to ride one.

A coach will be your motivating and supportive guide from beginning to end. 

Your coach will help you understand why riding a bike is so important to you, ask questions designed to help you prepare and map out your journey such as what fitness or skill level do you need, and ask you what colour bike you want.

Together you will set targets like when you’re going to buy your bike and address any barriers such as fear of falling.  Your coach will then run alongside you, checking on your progress and enjoyment throughout the journey, helping you to adjust or recreate the plan as needed.

At the end, the coach will support you to evaluate the experience - do you want to pursue the mastery of bike riding or would you rather sell the bike and take the train?

Download ResourceWHAT IS COACHING?


One of the most difficult things for students new to coaching is to "unlearn" what they think coaching is. CONSULTING, TRAINING, and THERAPY are all common backgrounds for students of coaching, so the very first thing you need to do is understand how these things are different to coaching skills.

What Sort Of Coach Will You Be?

The one thing that all coaches have in common is that they feel a natural talent or desire to create positive change in their lives, or the lives of others.  But, within this profession, there are many different niches and applications.  Take our quick quiz to find out what sort of coach you will be.

'Who will you be as a Coach' Quiz