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All About Personal and Professional Coaching, Peer Coaching and Group Coaching

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC

The aim of this topic is to orient the reader to personal coaching, its many benefits and applications, different kinds of coaching and some coaching models, core skills needed by coaches, and additional resources about the profession and coaching. The topic will be useful to you whether you plan to use coaching informally on yourself, others, teams or organizations, or whether you seek to become a professional coach. The topic also will help you if you want to start a coaching service, whether it's a new organization, expanding a current organization, or starting a new product or service.

  • If you think you would benefit from coaching, see our one-on-one coaching services.
  • If you are a coach and want to expand your toolbox of services (in this very competitive market of coaching), then learn Facilitating Group Coaching.

Sections of This Topic Include

NOTE: The following links are to topics that are included later on below on this page -- and each topic includes yet more links.

Understanding Coaching

What is Coaching? How Does it Compare to Other Fields or Professions?
General Framework of a Coaching Program
Coaching Conversations and Laser Coaching
--- Coaching Conversations
--- Laser Coaching

Coaching as a Service

Benefits of Coaching
--- Listings of Benefits
--- Coaching Culture
Hiring a Coach and Getting Coached
--- Would You Benefit from a Coach? What Kind?
--- Are You Ready for Coaching?
--- What Does Coaching Cost? How Long Does Coaching Take?

Field of Personal and Professional Coaching

Two Broad Categories of Coaching
--- Performance Coaching
--- Well-Being (Life) Coaching
Domains of Coaching
--- Self-Coaching
--- One-On-One Coaching
--- Peer Coaching
--- Group Coaching
--- Organizational Coaching
Some Common Types of Coaching and Virtual Coaching
--- Business Coaching
--- Career Coaching
--- Leadership, Executive and Management Coaching
--- Life Coaching
--- Virtual Coaching
Some Examples of Coaching Models

Doing Coaching

Test - How Good Are Your Coaching Skills Now?
Useful Skills for Coaches
Coaching Others
Some Tools for Coaching
Evaluating Coaching (and the ROI of Coaching)

Business of Coaching

Profession and Professionalism for Coaches
--- Profession of Coaching
--- Credentials
--- Professionalism and Ethics
--- Become a Professional Coach?
How to Start a Coaching Business

General Resources and Topics

Some Coaching Training Organizations and Associations
Resources With Many Resources About Coaching
Bibliographies of Books About Coaching
Many Related Topics

Also consider
Related Library Topics

Have a Question, Suggestion or Resource About Coaching?

Post it in the Library's LinkedIn group
Action Learning and Coaching For Everyone

Understanding Coaching

What is Coaching? How Does it Compare to Other Fields or Professions?

The field of personal and professional coaching has grown rapidly in the past 15 years and, as with most fields and professions that experience this kind of growth, there are many different perspectives on coaching. Here's a definition that perhaps most people would agree with. (There are more perspectives provided in the next section, immediately below.)

Coaching involves working in a partnership between coach and client(s) to provide structure, guidance and support for clients to:

  1. Take a complete look at their current state, including their assumptions and perceptions about their work, themselves and/or others;
  2. Set relevant and realistic goals for themselves, based on their own nature and needs;
  3. Take relevant and realistic actions toward reaching their goals; and
  4. Learn by continuing to reflect on their actions and sharing feedback with others along the way.

Coaching can be especially useful to help individuals, groups and organizations to address complex problems and/or achieve significant goals and to do so in a highly individualized fashion, while learning at the same time.

Many people believe that coaching is different than training and might describe training as an expert convey certain subject matter to a student in order for the student to do a current task more effectively. Those people might add that training isn't as much of a partnership as a coaching relationship. Many might also believe that coaching is different than consulting and might describe consulting as especially using advice to help another person, team or organization to solve a problem. Others might assert that a good consultant would use skills in training and coaching, depending on the needs of the client. (A more progressive view is that a consultant is someone in a role to guide and/or support change, but who has no direct authority to make that change happen. Thus, an advisor, trainer, facilitator or coach would be a consultant in this situation.)

Many people assert that coaching is a profession, while others assert that it is a field, that is, that coaching has not yet accomplished a standardized approach, code of ethics and credibility to be a profession. This topic in the Library alternatively refers to coaching as a profession and a field.

Some Basic Definitions to Get Use Started

The Batting Coach Revisited: The Incredible Power of Coaching
Definitions of Coaching
Coaching Forwards Action and Deepens Learning
So What is Coaching?

Now, Consider Comparison of Coaching to Other Fields

Coaching, counseling, mentoring and consulting - what's the difference?
The Difference Between Mentoring And Coaching

What's the Difference Between Coaching & Consulting?
Business Coach Vs. Consultant: Which One Is Right For You?
Coaching vs. Consulting: What's the Difference?
Key Differences Between Coaching And Consulting (And How To Decide What Your Business Needs)

Referring a Client to Therapy: A Set of Guidelines
When and How to Refer a Client to Therapy or Other Helping Professionals
The Difference Between Coaching and Therapy is Greatly Overstated
Coaching Versus Therapy: A Perspective (American Psychological Association)
The Difference Between Coaching And Therapy
What Is The Difference Between Therapy And Coaching And Why Does It Matter?

General Framework of a Coaching Program

There is no standardized approach to a coaching program that all practitioners agree on, much like there is in medicine where standardized procedures are used for certain maladies. Rather, each coach focuses on a particular type of, and approach to, coaching that suits his/her nature and interests, and applies that approach to the types of clients that most closely matches the coach's passions, interests and capabilities. However, the reader can get an impression of a general framework that seems common to the approaches of many coaches.

How the framework is implemented depends on the coach's training and any particular model or school followed by the coach. Also, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of coaches and, consequently, increasing competition among them. One of the ways that coaches can differentiate each other is by how they customize their coach process to seem even more powerful and unique. The framework seems to be:

  1. Forming a relationship with the potential client, including assessing if the client is really ready for coaching, orienting the client to personal and professional coaching, and clarifying how both the coach and client prefer to work together.
  2. Establishing a mutual agreement or coaching contract, including about the roles of the coach and client, ground rules for working together, frequency of meetings, confidentiality, etc.
  3. Developing client-centered goals to be achieved during the coaching project, the goals of which depend very much on whether the coaching is performance- or well-being-oriented.
  4. A series of face-to-face and/or phone-based meetings with the coach and client, including ongoing questions, affirmations, accountabilities, etc., to identify relevant and realistic actions the client can take to achieve the goals and learn at the same time.
  5. Evaluating the coaching, both during and shortly after the project, which is made easier if the coaching was based on mutually agreed goals.

Thus, it's likely that many coaches would have many opinions about the above rather simplified description The following links are to resources that describe a similar framework.

How Coaching Works (a Short Video)

Coaching Conversations and Laser Coaching

Coaching Conversations

In contrast to a coaching program, which includes the above framework, coaching can be done in a one-time conversation. The conversation might include a small sampling of the type of support that a coach would give in each of the meetings in a coaching program. One of the hallmarks of coaching is the use of questions. (It's important to acknowledge that the primary use of questions is not unique to coaching; consider, for example, Action Learning (developed in the 1930s or self-directed Rogerian Therapy heralded by Carl Rogers.) Here's an example of the difference between a coaching conversation and a common chatty conversation, when trying to help someone.

See a 25-minute video that explains what coaching conversations are, what good coaching is, when to use and not use it, format of a coaching session, good coaching questions to ask, and what successful coaching really is. From the Consultants Development Institute.

Example of Effective Coaching
Coaching on the Fly
Example of a Coaching Conversation

Laser Coaching

Laser coaching involves one or a few short, usually concise and forward-focused coaching sessions to address an urgent and/or very specific issue. It also can be used to demonstrate the coaching process to a potential client. It's also useful for very busy people who are reluctant to commit to a long-term program.
A useful blog discussion about laser coaching
Core Coaching Skills -- The 20% That Gets 80% of Results

Coaching as a Service

Benefits of Coaching

Listings of Benefits

Top 14 Reasons to Hire a Coach
101 Things to Work on With Your Coach
Using Coaching to Get Unstuck
Need Coaching? Benefits That Coaching Can Have for Your Organization
Benefits of Workplace Coaching

A "Coaching Culture"

A coaching culture is where many people in the workplace instinctively coach in their communications with each other -- they deeply listen and understand each other, generate relevant and realistic actions to make progress on current priorities -- and learn at the same time.

How to Establish a Coaching Culture
Creating a Coaching Culture
13 Ways Leaders Can Build A 'Coaching Culture' At Work
10 Steps to a Coaching Culture

Also consider
Organizational Culture

Hiring a Coach and Getting Coached

Would You Benefit From a Coach? What Kind?

The following articles will also help you discern whether you'd benefit from a coach. Be sure to review some of the resources at Benefits of Coaching and Some Common Types of Coaching and Virtual Coaching. You might also benefit from undergoing some assessments to see if there are any areas of your life or work that you might address in coaching. See Self-Assessments, Team Assessments and Organizational Assessments.

What You Need to Know About Coaching Service
10 Tips for Hiring a Coach
How to Choose an Executive Coach
Coaching Tip -- A Simple Tool to Ask for Feedback
What Do You Want?
7 Benefits Of Executive Coaching That Will Surprise You
Getting a Coach
How to Avoid "Toxic" Coaching

Are You Ready for Coaching?

You might have realized some benefits that you might gain from coaching. That's not enough. You also need to be ready to work with someone in a relationship where the other person (the coach) is there to help you -- you need to be ready to accept that help. Here are some quick assessments to help you think about whether you're ready for coaching.

Coaching Readiness Scale
Coaching Readiness Quiz
Coaching Index: A way of finding out your coaching readiness
How Coachable Are You?

What Does Coaching Cost? How Long Does Coaching Take?

This is a little like asking "How much does a car cost?" because the cost and duration of coaching depend on what you want to accomplish by using a coach and also on your nature when being involved with a coach to meet your needs. However, the following links are to a variety of types of coaches and perhaps it'll be useful to scan their information to get a sense for fees, duration and even how they work with clients. (We are not endorsing the following sites or coaches.)

How Much Does Life Coaching Usually Cost?
Executive Coaching -- How Much Does Executive Coaching Cost?
3 Steps To Choosing The Right Money Coach

Also consider
ICF Sample Coach Contract
ICF Sample Coaching Agreement

Also consider
Changing Behaviors
Motivating Self and Others
Personal Development
Personal Productivity
Personal Wellness

Field of Personal and Professional Coaching

Two Broad Categories of Coaching

Performance Coaching

Performance coaching aims to enhance the performance of an individual, team, project or organization, especially to establish and achieve desired goals, whether they be goals for individual, team, project or organizational development. The very popular business coaching is usually a form of performance coaching. Performance coaches are often -- but not exclusively -- hired by organizations, rather than by individuals.

Coaching for Improve Performance
Performance Coaching
Employee Performance Coaching

Also consider
Performance Management (Basics)
Employee Performance Management
Group Performance Management
Organizational Performance Management
Performance Consultants

Well-Being Coaching

Well-being, or being coaching, aims to enhance the quality of life for an individual, for example, to support the individual to accomplish more personal or professional development, such as enhanced health, meaning and satisfaction in his/her life. The very popular life coaching is usually a form of well-being coaching. Well-being coaches are often -- but not exclusively -- hired by individuals, rather than by an organizations.

Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Life Coach
Six things I Secretly Hope Are Included in Life Coaching
Life Coaching Articles

Also consider
Changing Behaviors
Motivating Self and Others
Personal Development
Personal Productivity
Personal Wellness

Domains of Coaching


Long-term change, whether in your career, work or organization, usually begins with yourself, so self-coaching is an extremely important capability. Self-coaching can be done for yourself at any time.

How Self-Coaching Can Help You Create the Results You Want
Behold the Power of Self-Coaching
Self-Coaching Guides

Also consider
Personal Development
Personal Productivity
Personal Wellness

One-On-One Coaching

One-on-one coaching is perhaps the most well-known form of coaching and is what most people think of, when they think of coaching. The process and manner in which this form of coaching is done depends very much on the particular coaching model, training and nature of the coach. An important topic is how coaching compares to therapy (see What is Coaching?).

Individual vs. Group (Financial) Coaching -- Which is Beset for You?

Also consider
Communications (Interpersonal)
Interpersonal Skills
Guiding Skills

Peer Coaching

Peer coaching is increasingly popular because it can be done spontaneously when needed and is low-cost because coaching experts typically are not being paid for services. There are many different perspectives on, and designs of, peer coaching.

A Definition of Peer Coaching
Peer Coaching: The Basics

10 Benefits of Peer Coaching in the Workplace

Peer Coaching Models
Introduction to Peer Coaching

Peer Coaching–Principles, Practice sand Processes
The Evolution of Peer Coaching

How to Get Your Team to Coach Each Other
Activating Peer Coaching

Also consider
Communications (Interpersonal)
Interpersonal Skills
Guiding Skills
Peer Learning

Group Coaching

There are various forms of group coaching. For example, a coach can coach each member one at a time or support members to coach each other (a peer coaching group). Many people assert a difference between group coaching and team coaching. Action Learning is a very popular form of group coaching and is used by most Fortune 1000 companies in the US, as well as being very popular in Europe. Many people would consider team building to be team coaching.

What is Group Coaching?
Group Coaching vs. One-On-One Coaching
Coaching a Group or a Team:What’s the Difference?
Reflections on the Question: “Is it Group or Team Coaching?" (are they really different?)
Peer Coaching Groups
Basic Guidelines for Evaluating Action Learning and Coaching Groups
All About Action Learning

Also consider
Group Skills
Group Performance Management
Team Building

Organizational Coaching

Organizational coaching aims to enhance the performance of a unit in the organization (a department or process) or the entire organization. This type of coaching gets best results when its goals are closely aligned with the business goals of the unit or organization.

Approaches to Research on Executive and Organizational Coaching Outcomes
The Emerging Field of Executive and Organizational Coaching: An Overview
Organizational Coaching and the Employee Assistance Professional
Team Coaching vs. Organizational Coaching

Also consider
Organizational Change and Development
Organizational Communications
Organizational Performance Management

Some Common Types of Coaching and Virtual Coaching

There are numerous types of coaching and the number seems to increase with each type of work, interest or challenge that people experience. In this section are some of the most common types. For example, there's business coaches, creativity coaches, career coaches, executive coaches, health and wellness coaches, financial coaches, life coaches, leadership coaches, marketing coaches, relationship coaches, sales coaches, small business coaches, spiritual coaches, team coaches, work-life coaches ... and the list goes on and on. Coaching is so popular, and there are so many types of coaching, and the rate of those entering coaching is so high -- that there's a growing industry in training coaches and getting business for coaches. Here's an overview of a few of the most common types of coaches.

Business Coaching

A business coach helps business owners or members of the organization to improve the business by using the philosophies, models and tools of coaching. The business coach also might impart knowledge about various functions of business, for example, planning, marketing and finances (many coaches might argue that coaching does not involve imparting expert knowledge, but that depends on the coach). Some people might consider a leadership and executive coach to be a business coach because that type of coaching usually occurs within the context of a business.

What's a Business Coach?
Business Coach vs Consultant: Which One is Right for You?

Also consider
Business Planning
Growing an Organization
Strategic Planning

Career Coaching

Career coaches help individuals to discover what they want to do as a vocation, plan their careers, increase job satisfaction, and sometimes to make a career transition, or even to advance in their own careers.

Definition: Career Coaching
10 Things You Should Know About Career Coaching
How to Become a Career Coach
How Many Articles About Career Coaching Will The Average Person Read Before They Become a Career Coach?

Also consider
Career Advancement
Career Change
Career Planning

Leadership, Executive and Management Coaching

What an Executive Coach Can Do for You
Executive Coaching is Focused On Getting Results
Ethics in Coaching, Contracting and Confidentiality: Drawing Lines in the Sand
Developing Leadership Skills Through Coaching
Coaching on Business Acumen Is Critical
Supervising or Coaching -- What's the Difference?

Also consider
Role of Chief Executive Officer

Life Coaching

See Well-Being (Life) Coaching

Virtual Coaching (E-Coaching)

Virtual coaching is coaching done by means of telecommunications, for example, phone or Web-based tools.

The Virtues of Virtual Coaching
Virtual Coaching -- Using Technology to Boost Performance

Also consider
Computers, Internet and Web

Some Examples of Coaching Models

A coaching model is a framework that concisely depicts the concepts and approach of the approach to coaching. There are many models, and it's best for a coach to know more than one. Here are some examples. The purpose of this listing is not to suggest which models are best, but rather to give the reader a sense of what a coaching model is. (Some people refer to "methods," rather than models.)

Coaches Training Institute's model
GROW Model
Coaching With OSKAR

Doing Coaching

If you plan to do some coaching, whether you want to become a professional coach or not, be sure to review the above information, at least the major sections "Understanding Coaching" and "Coaching as a Service," in this topic before reviewing some of the resource referenced in this section.

Test - How Good Are Your Coaching Skills Now?

Test - How Good Are Your Coaching Skills Now?

Before you consider more about doing coaching either as a profession or just as a skill to use in your life and work, you might get an impression of your skills in coaching now. Take this quick test.

Assess Your Coaching Skills

Useful Skills for Coaches


Emotional Intelligence
Understanding Yourself as an Instrument of Change
Stress Management
Time Management
Work-Life Balance

Build Relationships

Building Trust

Generate Learning

Appreciative Inquiry

Understand Learning


Communications (written)
Communications (body language)

Cultivating Relationships

Conflict Management
Emotional Intelligence
Handling Difficult People
Diversity and Inclusion

Coaching Forward

Goal Setting
Action Planning
What To Do When People Don't Follow-Through
Power and Influence
Changing Behaviors

Coaching Others

The 10 Key Coaching Best Practices to Develop Your Team Members
When to Facilitate, Train or Coach
Issues Related to Changing Someone Else's Behavior
Daily Tips for Consultants
Tips for Effective Coaching
Core Coaching Skills -- The 20% That Gets The 80% of Results
Coaching People With Teachable Moments
Coaching Tip -- Perfect or Best?
Coaching Tip -- The Power of Metaphors
Coaching Tool -- Relationship Mapping to Strengthen Relationships
Coaching Tool -- The Power of Vision
Coaching Tip -- The Art of Being Succinct
Coaching Your Top Performers
Coaching Tip -- How to Give Effective Appreciation
Coaching Tip – Manage Self Limiting Beliefs
8 Coaching Tips to Enhance Interpersonal Communication
Basic Guidelines to Reframing — to Seeing Things Differently
Basic Modes and Formats of Coaching
When Do You “Tell the Truth” During Coaching?

Also consider
Useful Skills for Coaches

Some Tools for Coaching

The list of "tools" needed for coaching is an expansive, long list because coaching is a relationship between people -- and people are very dynamic "systems," so there are many tools needed in cultivating and maintaining that successful relationship (some of the tools are already listed in the previous section Useful Skills for Coaches).

Assessments (Personal) (includes many types of assessments)
Action Plan Examples and Templates
Urgent / Important Matrix
Creating a Coaching Development Plan
Coaching Tool – The Art of Challenge

Evaluating Coaching (and the ROI of Coaching)

Evaluating Coaching (General Guidelines)

Practical Methods for Evaluating Coaching
A Practical Guide to Evaluating Coaching:Translating State-of-the-Art Techniques to the Real World
Coaching: Evaluating the impossible?
How do we evaluate the effectiveness of the coaching process?
Principles and processes in coaching evaluation

Return on Investment (ROI) of Coaching

Evaluating the effectiveness of executive coaching: Beyond ROI?
ACE: A Model for Coaching Evaluation and Return on Investment
Measuring ROI in Executive and Business Coaching
What ROI Studies of Executive Coaching Tell Us
Coaching ROI
Benefits of Working with a Business Coach (includes ROI methodology)
An ROI Sample Calculation

Also consider
How to Design Successful Evaluation and Assessment Plans
Evaluations (Many Kinds)
Evaluation of Training and Development (although coaching is different than training, this might be helpful)

Business of Coaching

The Profession and Professionalism for Coaches

Profession of Coaching

Coaching, counseling, mentoring and consulting - what's the difference?
Coaching is Largely a Sham and Leaders are Largely Born and Not Made
Future of Coaching as a Profession


A Guide to Coach Credentials
How to Choose the Best Coaching Qualifications
International Coach Federation credential paths
Case Against Credentialism

Professionalism and Ethics

ICF Code of Ethics
Coaches Code of Conduct -- What to Look for in a Coach

Although many people believe there is a difference between the nature of coaching and consulting, guidelines for professionalism and working with clients can be very similar.
Principles for Effective Consulting
Ethical Consulting
Boundaries for Consultants
Working on Ourselves, as Consultants
Understanding Yourself as an Instrument of Change

Become a Professional Coach?

The following resources are to help you think about whether to learn a lot more about coaching. If you want to be really good at coaching, or even to be a professional coach, then certification in coaching is the best way to ensure professional skills and to establish strong credibility. See Some Coaching Training Organizations and Associations.

What Makes a Coach?
The Life of a Coach
Benefits of Becoming a Coach
Are You Doing OD? Training? Consulting? Coaching? All of These?

How to Start a Coaching Business

This topic assumes that you already have expertise in coaching and are thinking about starting a business to be a professional coach. The guidelines in this topic are focused on helping you to start a new organization, expand a current organization, or start a new service. If you do not yet have expertise in coaching, you should review much of the contents of this overall topic, and then certainly practice coaching in a variety of venues, including with evaluation from other professional coaches and clients in your coaching. Certification in coaching is the best way to ensure professional skills and to establish strong credibility. See Some Coaching Training Organizations and Associations.

Are You Really an Entrepreneur?

Are You Really Ready?

Starting a New Organization?

Starting a For-Profit Organization
Starting a Nonprofit Organization

Planning Your New Organization

Strategic Planning
Business Planning

Deciding the Legal Structure of Your New Organization

U.S. Enterprise Law -- Forming Organizations

Or Expanding a Current Organization?

Business Development

Or Starting a New Product or Service?

Product Development

Marketing Your Organization, Product or Service

Social Networking

Getting and Keeping Clients

10 Tried and True Tactics for Getting Your First Coaching Client
Customer Service

Customer Satisfaction
Close More Business (Get More Clients)

Getting Paid

The Reason It Feels Hard to Get Paid What You’re Worth

Dealing With Clients

Types of Clients (to answer critical question: "who is current client?")
Defining Success Between Consultants and Clients

When to Bail from a Project

When to Bail from a Consulting Project

Sustaining Your Business

How to Build a Sustainable Coaching Business (And Double Your Rates in the Process)

Minimizing Risk

Minimize Consulting Liabilities and Risk
Risk Management

Staying Centered as a Coach

Personal Wellness
Stress Management
Time Management
Work-Life Balance

General Resources and Topics

Some Coaching Training Organizations and Associations

Authenticity Consulting (peer coaching)
Coach University
Coaches Training Institute
Hudson Institute
International Coach Federation
New Ventures West
Newfield Network
The International Consortium For Coaching in Organizations
WorldWide Association of Business Coaches

Resources With Many Resources About Coaching

Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC)
Numerous free articles about Coaching
International Association of Coaching

Bibliographies of Books About Coaching

Some Publications To Help You Learn More About Coaching

Many Related Topics

Appreciative Inquiry
Assessments (Personal)

Changing Behaviors
Career Development
Continuous Learning
Decision Making
Emotional Intelligence
Employee Performance
Feedback (Sharing)
Goals (Setting Personal)
Interpersonal Skills
Leadership (All Kinds)
Listening Skills
Personal Development
Personal Wellness
Power and Influence
Problem Solving
Questioning (Skills In)
Systems Thinking

Learn More in the Library's Blogs Related to Coaching

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Coaching. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Coaching Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Supervision Blog

For the Category of Leadership:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books