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What is coaching?

Coaching – literally ‘to keep on track' – emphasizes the enhancement of personal efficacy to attain goals and to be successful, and not so much about solving a problematical situation. Coaching is directed at change and is ‘action based'. Coaching is a new profession; it is the application of psychological principles (see definition psychotherapy) to assist people to act preventively when they want to carry through important changes in their lives.

The most important target of coaching is the raising of the ‘question-related' knowledge and the strengthening of personal skills. Coaching has more the function of a ‘sounding board’ or a ‘second opinion’. What the client wants and the obstacles he or she experiences with that, are central. The coach directs the attention on following questions:

• Where are you now compared to where you would want to be?
• What are your targets?
• Are your targets based on your values?
• To reach your goal, what are your strengths, which areas are susceptible for improvement and what do you have to apply on then?

Targets are clear and constructive, they are formulated positively (‘where does one want to go to’ instead of ‘what does one want to get rid of’) and must be within ones sphere of influence and be feasible. Targets outside ones reach are doomed in advance.

The approach of the coach can include all sorts of activities, varying from listening and reflecting, to giving indications, passing facts, giving instructions and prescribing exercises. The coach can supply new approaches and give concrete recommendations (expert role). He can also facilitate the clients development and decision-making process (process role). Both roles complete each other.

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