Key definition – What is coaching?
Course Content
Principles 2: Stories and good lives
This topic is about the importance of our personal narrative and how to become active authors of this narrative.
Conclusion session: Preparing for take-off
Creating a road map for application of your learning
Cultivating Coaching Cultures
About Lesson

At the heart of all coaching is the idea that the coachee has answers and agency. The coach’s role is, therefore, not to direct or advise, but to create the conditions in which the coachee can access their own knowledge, ideas, motivation, and capability to address the challenge they face: 

“This speaks to the very heart of coaching: building self-awareness and enabling people to find the answers themselves through active listening and genuine inquiry.” (1)

So, whilst not training to become coaches specifically, developing a coaching approach takes place through conversation and relationship:

“A conversation where the coach acts as the facilitator to the coachee, so that they learn, gain insight and take action toward a specific and agreed outcome.” (2)

“Coaching aims to help release potential and to improve performance, primarily through a non-directive approach in a structured discussion.” (3)

These conversations do not need to be lengthy, like those a trained coach might have, but are structured:

“…the major function of coaching is that it moves the client from one place to another in a purposeful, planned and motivating way … coaching helps people cope with change because it teaches them mechanisms for how to mitigate uncertainty and creates self-direction to manage the unknown.” (4)

The coach’s role is, therefore, not to have all the answers but to empower people who are ready willing and able to make progress to direct their own learning and make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between coaching and mentoring is that mentors are often people with more experience in an area in which the mentee is trying to grow. Coaching, however, does not require the coach to be an expert in the topic where the learning is taking place. In coaching there is a shift from an expert-led approach to one focused on encouraging choice, individualisation and responsibilisation.


(1) P.19, Steed, J (2013), ‘Why the emphasis on coaching for organisations?’, in Forman, D, Joyce, M and McMahon, G, Creating a Coaching Culture for Managers in your Organisation, London: Routledge

(2) P.13, Jones, G and Gorell, R (2018), How to Create a Coaching Culture: A Practical Introduction, London: Kogan-Page

 (3) P.42, Hawkins, P (2012), Creating a Coaching Culture, Maidenhead: Open University Press

 (4) P.56, Jones and Gorell (2018)


Address: 8901 Marmora Road, Glasgow, D04 89GR
Phone: (800) 0123 – 456 – 7890

Open hours

Monday – Friday: – 7am – 10pm
Saturday: 8am – 10pm
Sunday: 8am – 11pm

Follow Us