Definition and Use

Coaching is a consulting model defined by various criteria. The most important are:

  • Coach and client are partners on equal footing: the client is the expert for his or her system and its context, the coach is the expert for conducting interviews and dealing with problems in a target- and solution-oriented manner.
  • Solution orientation: coaching aims at solving problems, not looking for causes
  • Cooperation between coach and client is a basic requirement; the coaching focuses on the client as a person
  • Coaching methods and interventions aim at increasing the number of choices and options for the client
  • Always holding the client in high regard and focusing on the client’s resources is another crucial element in coaching
  • The coach makes an offer to the client based on his or her expert knowledge, but the client is free to accept or reject this offer
  • Coaching takes place in a risk-free environment. What is discussed during coaching must be strictly confidential and entirely voluntary.

Coaching can be deployed in the consulting and professional guidance…

…of managers facing professional difficulties
…of people in professional transitional processes
…of people looking for new professional perspectives
…of people facing new responsibilities in the workplace
…of people losing their jobs
…of people starting a new job
…of employees facing challenging new tasks
…of people aiming to improve their work-life balance
…of teams trying to work better together

Differences from other forms of consulting

  • Psychotherapy is a therapy for people suffering from mental disorders. It is a long-term process treating deep-seated personal disorders
  • Expert consulting and training focuses on imparting expert knowledge – the trainer shows the client “how it’s done”. Coaching, on the other hand, means helping a person to help themselves – the coach helps the client to find a solution to his or her problem.
  • Counseling generally helps to assure quality.
  • Coaching is more universal and geared more towards the client’s individual goals.
  • In organization development, consulting focuses on an organization, while coaching focuses on an individual
  • The main purpose of mentoring is to help an employee cope with a specific task, such as assuming a new management role. An essential element of coaching is that mentors incorporate their own personal experience.

Methods and the relationship between cause and effect

Coaching is often seen as merely applying certain methods. In our view, the question of whether method A or method B is used is of little significance. What is far more important is that the coach succeeds in establishing an effective, trusting relationship with the client. This way coaches can decide what method or intervention is most suitable for the client and at what time. Therefore, we find it wise for coaches to have a large toolbox at their disposal.
Regardless of the methods used, we recognize the following most significant causal relations:

Appreciation activates the client’s resources

Focusing on what is going well or what went well in the past makes the client aware of his or her options – neglected strengths and skills emerge. As a result the client’s own success is finally perceived as such, which in turn contributes to his or her achieving their own aims.

Freedom to reflect through coaching

The opportunity to come to terms with a problem and spend time exclusively solving this one problem is often a big step towards success.
Clarification of task and objective (what are you trying to ultimately achieve at the end of the coaching?) may already lead to a clearer perception on the part of the client. It is the first step towards problem resolution.
For once the target is clear, developing strategies for resolution and implementation are usually relatively straightforward.

Change of perspectives

Assuming a new position or different point-of-view often opens new possibilities. A problem may simply disappear as soon as the client looks at it from a different perspective.
Change of perspective also lets the client discover new options and alternative courses of action − an important and desired aim of each coaching process.