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What is Coaching?

What is Coaching and What Can it do for ME?

Coaching Is Goal Oriented

Coaching is a structured, goal oriented conversation using a methodology where you are given space to question current thoughts, beliefs, behaviours, and your approaches to certain situations, problems, or experiences, with the intention to shift your perspective and mindset in order to reach your desired outcomes.

Coaching Evokes Awareness

Coaching is about paying attention. The science on human achievement is clear, paying attention, being aware, and living our lives intentionally, are the overarching themes in what leads to a satisfying life. 

Coaching is about evoking awareness and insight​ and exploring beyond your current thinking. Coaching helps you identify factors that influence current and future patterns of behaviour, thinking, and emotions​. It is an invitation to generate ideas about how you can move forward and discover/determine what you are willing or able to do​.

Coaching helps people pause and take inventory. Coaching can support you in finding clarity, figuring out what you want, sifting through the noise and deciding what's next. 

Coaching is Based in Scientific Research 

Coaching methodology is rooted in neuroscience, specifically around neuroplasticity and the discovery that the human brain can rewire and change, as well as the research behind Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is based on a model of the relationships between cognition, emotion, and behavior. The three aspects of cognition are the focus of CBT: automatic thoughts, cognitive distortions, and underlying beliefs.

Circumstances/Beliefs --> Thoughts --> Emotions/Feelings --> Actions --> Results

Automatic Thoughts - Our circumstances and/or beliefs lead to our thoughts which shape our emotions which lead to our actions.

For example: 

When someone cuts you off on the highway you might think "what an as*h@le! They think they're so entitled! I can't believe they would do something so dangerous!! No one knows how to drive anymore!" And you feel enraged and frustrated, so you lay on your horn and gesture to them, indicating your displeasure. They gesture back at you. You tell the story later when you arrive at the office all amped up. OR, someone cuts you off on the highway and you think, "Oh good thing I'm paying attention, maybe they're a new driver or they're running late for something important." You feel glad that you were on the ball and grateful there was no accident. You move on and almost instantly forget it happened. 

Cognitive Distortions - You may already be familiar with some common cognitive distortions, also known as errors in logic or logical fallacies. 

Some examples:

  • Dichotomous thinking: Things are seen regarding two mutually exclusive categories with no shades of gray in between.

  • Mind reading: Assuming the thoughts and intentions of others.

  • Fortune telling: Predicting how things will turn out before they happen.

  • Minimization: Positive characteristics or experiences are treated as real but insignificant.

  • Catastrophizing: Focusing on the worst possible outcome, however unlikely, or thinking that a situation is unbearable or impossible when it is just uncomfortable.

  • “Should” statements: Concentrating on what you think “should” or “ought to be” rather than the actual situation you are faced with or having rigid rules which you always apply no matter the circumstances.

Underlying Beliefs - Beliefs are the hidden scripts that run our lives. Long term, your beliefs determine your destiny. You may not even be aware of of some of the core beliefs you have because they are so deeply engrained, you simply see them as the truth. Our beliefs come from our parents, upbringing, friends, religion, culture, and society at large. But our beliefs are a choice, and they can be change. Some examples:

  • I'm not good at math and never will be

  • Marriages never last, and the ones that do are unhappy

  • I can't be truly happy until I reach my goal weight

  • I'm not good at managing people

  • Women should have children

  • People will only like me if I'm agreeable

  • People are inherently bad

  • I need to be perfect to be worthy of love

Coaching is distinct from therapy in important ways (see below), but does follow a similar, practical, collaborative approach to achieving desired goals. 

What is Life and Career Crafting?

Life Crafting is the intentional process of designing and shaping various aspects of your life to align with your personal values, goals, and aspirations. This could involve making deliberate choices about career, relationships, lifestyle, and personal development to create a fulfilling and meaningful life.

The Power of Being Listened To

Research has shown time and time again that there are benefits from simply being in a conversation where someone is actually listening to you. We've all had conversations with friends, family members, or partners where we are sharing our thoughts with them and they are not really paying attention or they jump right to giving advice that isn't useful and demonstrates even further how little they understand what you're going through. 

Studies have shown that speakers partnered with good listeners leave the conversation feeling less anxious, more self-aware, and they also reported higher clarity about their attitudes on the topics discussed. Speakers also reported having great insight, self-knowledge, and cognitive flexibility. All of those benefits, just from being listened to

Coaching Reduces Burnout

A study cited in a journal article from the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology in 2020 found coaching as an intervention to address burnout in primary Care Physicians "significantly reduced burnout, job stress, turnover intentions, improved psychological capital, job satisfaction/engagement, and job self-efficacy by the end of the coaching intervention." 

Coaching helps coachees avoid and navigate burnout by improving confidence through reframing challenging situations and seeing new possibilities. Coaching can also help build self-compassion through reflection, and also improve compassion for others. 

Coaching Works

"Coaching in organization and leadership settings is also an invaluable tool for developing people across a wide range of needs. The benefits of coaching are many; 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, and over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills. 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment on coaching and more."  


Marie Forleo, "Everything is Figureoutable."2019,and%20more%20effective%20communication%20skills.

Coaching is NOT

  • Coaching is not therapy

    • Coaching is present and future focused, therapy typically focuses on the past

    • Therapists are medical professionals who diagnose and treat mental health issues. Coaching can compliment therapy, but a coach CANNOT diagnose or treat a mental illness.


  • Coaching is not training

    • Training is meant to teach someone a particular skill or competency or impart a specific piece of knowledge (eg. PowerPoint, Excel, organisational history, or time management)

    • Coaching increases awareness about attitudes and behaviours, which can improve the impact of training, but the coach does not “teach” or “train” a coachee


  • Coaching is not mentoring

    • A mentors is passing on wisdom and information from experience and acquired  expertise and in this way, acts as a teacher

    • A coach intentionally does not provide advice and seeks to encourage self-reliance and resourcefulness 


  • Coaching is not consulting

    • A consultant provides solutions and is expected to, and responsible for, gathering information and advising

    • A coach is responsible for holding space for a coachee, asking questions, and facilitating a space where an increase in self-awareness can take place


Therapy, training, mentoring, and consulting are all important and valid tools for growth and development, but they are distinct from coaching.


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