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  • Writer's pictureAnna Bates

What is coaching (and what it is not…)? and what qualifications are involved?

Well, here we go.. my first ever blog! How exciting, actually how very nerve-wracking- but I'm using those nerves in a positive manner (as you would expect from a coach whose base is positive psychology and appreciative inquiry).


With the word ‘Coaching’ being banded about more regularly I thought it would be good to kick off with what true Coaching is, and what is most definitely is not.


Coaching provides a safe, non-judgmental space for Coachees to work through challenges they face, whether they are personal or professional. Challenges such as a lack of self-confidence, fear of dealing with conflict, developing leadership and management skills, working through a career change, managing your work/life balance, protecting your mental wellbeing and much more. There are no set rules around what topics you bring to a coaching session- it is entirely up to you. And if you need some help refining your specific goal, we have tools to help.


Coaching is a non-directive process, where only the process is owned by the Coach; the goal, the content AND the outcomes are owned by the Coachee. It is ALL about the coachee, the coach stays completely objective and asks open questions to help the coachee explore the situation, their feelings and what options they have.


This means that you, as the coachee, get to focus completely on yourself and your goal without any judgement from anyone else. The questions from your coach will be open (to encourage lots of thought), not leading and we are not there to act as a mentor, therapist or consultant.


A coach will establish clear boundaries for each session, boundaries around the amount of challenge they should bring, what that challenge looks like, what their expectations are from the coachee and what your expectations are of them. They will contract around the number of sessions you would like and will spend time initially setting your goals so there is a structure to the time you spend with them. A coach should not offer personal experience, unless they have first asked your permission, and then it will only be offered as an option- never as the solution. A coach should not give you information, the answers are already within you!


During your Coaching sessions your coach may use a range of techniques to help you access information at a deeper level- but only if you want to. As you develop your coach – coachee relationship you will find the ways of working that suit you best.


There is a plethora of available Coaching qualifications, from two-day courses to masters degrees. I completed a fourteen-month diploma in Transformational Coaching with Catalyst14. The diploma covered 12 modules, required lots of further reading (some of my favourite books will be included in future blogs), a minimum of 50 hours of coaching practice and a 10,000-word dissertation.


There are three main Coaching accreditation bodies for coaching in the UK: European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), International Coach Federation (ICF) and Association for Coaching (AC). As the three leading professional associations they share a mission to drive the highest standards. Each of these bodies has a set of competencies that their accredited coaches are measured against to ensure best practice.



To maintain their professional membership coaches must complete professional coach supervision, for example I attend a four-hour supervision session each quarter. These sessions provide the space and opportunity for Coaches to continue their learning and develop their practice.


Engaging with a coach who is a member of one of the main accrediting bodies ensures your coach is acting within the guidelines set out to ensure professional standards.

So, there you have it… a brief outline of what coaching is and is not.


If you think you could benefit from a call to find out more, get in touch. Let’s realise your potential 😊


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