Approaching Coaching can be confusing. At times there may appear to be as many types of Coaching as there are Coaches themselves! So aside from deciding what the topic or outcome of coaching is most relevant to you or your organisation, here are a few of the most important modalities that coaching takes in our 21st century!
But first let’s distinguish Coaching from certain other interventions:
Coaching vs Therapy
Coaching has many similarities with therapy. They both address difficulties at home or in the office. They both focus on behavioural change. And they both explore our subjective experience. A good therapist and a good coach will ask the right questions to reach the desired outcome, but while therapy is often concentrated on the past, coaching is about our performance in the future.
Therapy diagnoses and treats dysfunctionality and is focused on healing emotional trauma. While Coaching is a more hands-on approach that seeks to define goals, explore solutions, and execute suitable methods of achieving them.
If you’re not sure if you should see a therapist or a coach, ask yourself whether you’re looking to heal and recover or create, grow and achieve? Also bear in mind these two aren’t mutually exclusive. Personally I’ve found both Coaching and Therapy incredibly powerful in my own self-development and I often recommend therapy to my clients. Just be clear and sure that you set your priorities and your needs first.
Coaching vs Psychiatry
A psychiatrist is a mental health professional who is able to treat a patient for specific mental health issues. In most countries they are part of the health-care system and can typically prescribe drugs where required. They are focused on risk mitigation and containment rather than development.
Coaching vs Mentoring
In a simple sense, a mentor relationship tends to be directive and offer expert advice. Someone who might share specific knowledge to teach their client, for example sales skills. Coaching on the other hand allows the coachee to improve their performance through increased self-awareness, personal development and self-learning. Because the coachee experiences the results for themselves, rather than through didactic learning, the outcomes are considered to be more deeply absorbed and therefore more powerful.
Coaching can be applied to any aspect of our life and as a result the possibilities of where coaching can help with are endless: sport, health, relationships, career, business, leadership, and of course life!
Coaching styles and approaches are various and here you’ll find the most common:
1. Directive Coaching
Autocratic coaching is closer to Mentoring in it's style, embracing a strong, possibly even dictatorial role. The Coach will often delineate the coaching methods and processes, seeking limited client input.
This approach is ideal in critical situations involving high stress or urgency in which a more collaborative approach is not recommended. This style assures stress and anxiety mitigation, boosts productivity, greater efficiency, increased firmness, trust in the coach, and more frequent achievement of goals.
2. Transactional Coaching
This coaching style is task-driven and usually very limited timewise. Accountability is key.
This coaching style encourages performance maximisation, short-term changes, clear identification of goals, problem-solving skills, capability and proficiency
3. Intuitive Coaching
Intuitive coaching promotes the essential elements necessary for fulfilment and accomplishment, while giving space to our inner voice (Reimers-Hild, 2012).
This coaching style encourages creativity, introspection, self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-trust, clarity.
4. Democratic Coaching
Democratic coaching gives an active role to the coachee in determining goals and the methods used to achieve them. Client participation is an essential element, but the coach has the last word when it comes to decision-making (Amanchukwu et al., 2015).
This coaching style encourages motivation, productivity, self-efficacy, commitment, inspiration, empowerment and creativity.
5. Transpersonal Coaching
Self-awareness leads to self-actualization. Transpersonal coaching facilitates people to transcend the ego states, mindsets and behaviours that constrain and reduce their personal, professional and spiritual growth.
This coaching style enhances self-revelation, deeper self-awareness, and dramatically increase one’s meaning and purpose.
Trust is key! Goals and processes are agreed in advance. Instead of creating control, the transformational coach acts together with the client while offering support and candid feedback (Lennard, 2010). As a result, mindset is shifted and behaviour transformed.
So, whether you’re looking for a coach or looking to become a coach, sit down for a minute and identify which Coaching styles are relevant to you, your needs and what you’d like to achieve. Write them down on a piece of paper and revise them as your needs or understanding changes. But either way, bringing coaching into your life will help your performance and purpose!