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What is coaching

Introduction to coaching


The coach works with clients to achieve speedy, increased and sustainable effectiveness in their lives and careers through
focused learning.  The coach’s sole aim is to work with the client to achieve all of the client’s potential – as defined
by the client. (Rogers 2004 p7)

Coaching is a non-directive process used to support learners during their own unique learning journey. It aims to enable learners to see what they are doing more clearly and discover their own ways to improve. Skilled coaches do this by helping learners to explore their challenges, problems and goals; providing an objective view of their actions and establishing a joint commitment to action to move learners forward. As a result, a learner will generate her/his own best solutions and develop skills and maturity as an autonomous learner. Coaching is therefore highly appropriate for part-time work-based learners, who need to be able to take ownership of their learning as a life-long process as well as full-time students, who need to make appropriate decisions relating to their learning and future employability.


Coaching has the potential to be a particularly effective approach for enabling students to take charge of their own personal and professional development. It requires them to review their current situation and achievements in the context of clarifying their immediate and future aims and objectives. Rather than seeking to achieve these by finding the best fit from a range of programmes of study currently on offer it provides a way for them to identify what they need from whatever sources they are aware of and then have the confidence and decisiveness to seek for and bring these together in a form that works for them.


We propose the use of coaching in a number of different ways to support learning, from developing a personalised curriculum, through decision making about options and modules, to clarifying learning objectives and developing learning skills. For examples of how coaching has been used in the project see our case studies.


Coaching compared

Coaching is form of support - may be familiar with others such as counselling, mentoring and tutoring. To explore these differences go to Coaching vs other approaches.


Coaching principles

Coaching is based on a number of fundamental principles. To understand these go to Coaching principles.


Coaching competencies

A coach needs to develop some basic proficiencies or competencies. To understand these go to Coaching competencies.


Coaching practice

There are a number of areas to consider before starting out coaching practice. To understand these go to: Coaching practice


More information:

To learn more about coaching:

Models, practices and tools


To learn how to coach:

Learning to coach


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