Coaching is a particular kind of conversation that takes place between two people or in groups and teams. The aim is usually to make change happen, but this can be part of a process that first starts with working out what patterns, beliefs or relationship dynamics may be holding you from reaching your full potential.

Coaches deal with the ‘being self’, relationships, values, core identity and core needs, as well as the ‘doing self’, career, roles, tasks, skills. Ultimately, coaching is about self-empowerment through self-awareness, self-management and increased self-efficacy. It is always a collaborative process with client and coach as equals and explicitly draws on innate strengths and resources.

Why choose coaching instead of counselling?

Coaching is about change and action. The core purpose of coaching is to increase self-awareness, to make choices explicit, and to close the gap between potential and how things are currently. While counselling is reparative in nature, coaching has a developmental focus. We look at how the ‘there and then’ may be impacting on the ‘here and now’, but it is not primarily focused on understanding the past or overcoming traumatic events.

What are the different types of coaching?

Coaching is often associated with the work environment, improving performance at work, trouble-shooting or resolving high levels of stress (often known as executive or business coaching). Coaches who focus on clients’ personal lives are often known as or personal or life coaches. But there are also many other types of coaching. Today, there are specialists offering coaching for women returners, unpaid carers, couples, health challenges, mental health problems and life transitions and bereavement, to name but a few.

What is therapeutic coaching?

All coaches who are BACP members are also qualified counsellors, which means they can safely work at depth to tackle the underlying causes of destructive patterns and the reasons you feel stuck.

What can you expect from coaching?

Like counselling, the quality of the relationship between the coach and client is key. But rather than meeting at the same time every week, coaching sessions are often longer than the therapeutic hour, and more spread out. Sessions may also be quite structured and directional or interactive. Coaching may follow a specific model, but many coaches integrate more than one model, along with elements of therapeutic approaches such as person-centred, solution focused or CBT.

The coach is there to help you do some quality, generative thinking. Sessions are based around a conversation but may also involve exercises done on paper or a flipchart. Sometimes, there may be simple tasks or specific thinking to be done between sessions. The process might feel challenging at times, but you should never feel judged or disrespected.

If you have any comments or would like to share your story, please email us at engage@bacp.co.uk