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This article was published 21-08-2017

What Is Professional Coaching?

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.


Standing on this foundation, the coach's responsibility is to:

  •  Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  •  Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  •  Hold the client responsible and accountable

Coaching process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

What has caused the tremendous growth in the coaching industry?

Coaching has grown significantly for many reasons, among them:
Rapid changes are taking place in the external business environment.

Downsizing, restructuring, mergers and other organizational changes have radically altered the "traditional employment contract.“Companies can no longer achieve results using traditional management approaches.

With the growing shortage of talented employees in certain industries, companies must commit to investing in individuals' development.

The disparity between what managers were trained to do and what their jobs now require of them is widening due to increasing demands for competitive results.

People are wrestling with job insecurity and increased workplace pressures to perform at higher levels than ever before.
Companies must develop inclusive, collaborative work environments to achieve strategic business goals and to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. 

Individuals who have experienced the excellent results of coaching are talking to more people about it.
People today are more open to the idea of being in charge of their own lives. Coaching helps them do just that.

Benifit of using a coaching

Those who undertake coaching can expect appreciable improvement in productivity and positive people.

Increased Productivity
Professional coaching maximizes potential and, therefore, unlocks latent sources of productivity.
Positive People
Building the self-confidence of employees to face challenges is critical in meeting organizational demands.

About ICF

1995: Thomas Leonard, with support of others, founds the International Coach Federation (ICF) in the United States for the purpose of having a space for all coaches to support one another and help grow the profession. 

ICF Members specialize in a variety of coaching areas, including Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Relationship Coaching, Career Coaching and other skilled coaching fields.

ICF, the world's largest coaching organization, remains successful in its core purpose: to advance the coaching profession. According to the ICF 2012Global Coaching Study, approximately 47,500professional coaches are now in business worldwide (bringing cumulative annual revenue close to $2 billion) as compared to 2,100professional coaches in 1999.。

The same report found that more coaches reported an increase rather than a decrease in fees, hours, clients and revenues over the past 12 months. Overall, trend indicators point to a growing profession, also evidenced by ICF adding 2,000 new members a year.

How is coaching distinct from other service professions?

Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand coaching by distinguishing it from other personal or organizational support professions.

Therapy: Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hamper an individual's emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one's work or personal life. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.

Consulting: Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.

Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.

Training: Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.

Athletic Development: Though sports metaphors are often used, professional coaching is different from sports coaching. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge. Professional coaches possess these qualities, but their experience and knowledge of the individual or team determines the direction. Additionally, professional coaching, unlike athletic development, does not focus on behaviors that are being executed poorly or incorrectly. Instead, the focus is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities.

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