Coaching is rooted in developmental psychology and is widely applied in a range of settings. For example, coaching is associated with team building, transition management, life- skills training, career planning, and so on. Indeed, coaching today is viewed by many as a key ingredient for success.


A coach is both a mentor and guide: someone who offers tools and resources that enable the client to define aspirations, identify options and set new goals that help them evolve and perform at higher levels. To this extent, a coach can be viewed as a catalyst for positive change. That is, someone who instills new hope in clients and helps them develop winning traits.


This course will introduce you to the theoretical background and equip you with practical tools you can employ straight away to start influencing those around you.






There are numerous definitions of coaching: some very general and some more specific. Two clear and helpful definitions include the following[1]:

  • “Coaching is a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be a successful coach requires a knowledge and understanding of the process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place.”
  • Coaching and Mentoring, p42)
  • “Coaching is the art of guiding another person, persons or human system towards a fulfilling future… Coaches help clients invent futures that are exciting, valuable and intensely personal. Coaching is (therefore) more about doing than being.” (The Handbook of Coaching, p22)


Generally speaking, there are 3 different types of coaching:


  • One-to-one coaching,
  • Group coaching, and
  • Systems coaching.


These can be summarised as follows:


  • One-to-one coaching: This is where a coach works with a client on an individual basis. Sessions are usually one or two hours long, are scheduled weekly or monthly and continue over several months. Usually sessions will be both focused and goal- orientated. The agenda is set by the client and usually involves identifying and working towards ways of being a more effective person, or professional. An example of this is executive coaching.


  • Group coaching: This is where a coach works with several ‘related’ individuals (such as a couple, departmental colleagues, a youth soccer team, and so on). Sessions are usually two to four hours long and scheduled frequently, perhaps two or three times a week. Shared interests and issues are discussed and addressed. Group coaching is most effective when (i) the focus is the present and the future, rather than the past, (ii) the focus word is planning, so that conversation does not veer off at a tangent. This prevents sessions becoming therapy, or a place to dump negative emotions. Instead, planning allows issues to be scheduled and worked through in an orderly way. These may well include communication skills, or unhealthy group dynamics.


  • Systems coaching: As the name suggests, this kind of coaching involves working with a system. This might be a family, government agency or community group. The aim is to move beyond strategic planning to motivate, build morale and prepare the team for change. As Hudson states in The Handbook of Coaching, p23[2]: “Systems coaching is a combination of working with key people, key departments and key system changes that will promote alignment with the current mission of the system”.

[1] Parsloe, E. and Wray, M. (2000) Coaching and Mentoring. Kogan Page: London.

[2] Hudson, F.M (1999). The Handbook of Coaching. Jossey Bass: San Francisco.

Certificate in Coaching

  • Basic English Skills