Coaching definition

Coaching is a process designed to help improve a person, team or organisation’s behaviour, cognition, actions, decision-making and overall efficiency.

In business, coaching is typically focused on organisational development i.e. on making businesses more efficient. However, other forms of coaching are applicable in the workplace, such as life coaching (how to live a happier and more effective life) and career coaching (techniques to further an individual’s career).

Coaching is undertaken in a range of settings and by different people, depending on the seniority of the people being coached and the reason for the coaching. More junior employees, more example, can be coached by internal managers whereas senior leaders are more likely to bring in external, professional coaches.

Coaching is often discussed alongside mentoring although the two terms are distinct. Mentors provide knowledge, experience and insight to help mentees cope with a specific challenge – they have typically had long careers in the same industry and thus are able to provide tailored insight and advice. As a general rule, coaches have broader knowledge that is applicable across different sectors and can therefore coach people effectively in very different businesses.