What is Coaching

A Brief History of Coaching

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”, which is particularly important not only to individuals in regular society but especially to those who have been involved with the correctional system.  Coaches honour the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.  Whether it’s a “life coach”, “executive coach” or “leadership coach”, coaches around the world have used a variety of titles to identify themselves. (The term “coaching” will be used throughout this website to refer to the educational advancement of our client’s self awareness and leadership skills).

While coaching has been practised for years, evidence based coaching literature on the effectiveness of coaching has only emerged relatively recently, resulting in an explosion of research looking at the efficacy of coaching.  Some of the areas in which coaching has proven a positive impact are in improving self esteem/self-confidence, relationships, communication skills, interpersonal skills, addiction recovery and wellness.

Coaching has been shown to be an effective strategy for enabling people of all ages and backgrounds to advance self education. Programmes targeting at-risk young people led to a 50% drop in drug and alcohol misuse (Foyer Health Programme Test Bed, 2010), significantly increased levels of self-esteem, aspirations and school attendance by as much as 80% (CSUK – ASPIRE NLP & Life Coaching Programme, 2008), and led to clients obtaining vocational qualifications, applying for and attending job interviews, resuming probation contact and unpaid work, and resolving debts and applying for social housing (USC YMCA Report, 2011).  Coaching successfully addresses some of the root causes of criminality.

The coaching profession has moved towards a more rigorous criteria for ethics, training and ongoing professional education.  One of the pioneer programs for coach training was founded by Laura Whitworth and Karen and Henry Kimsey-House called the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) in 1992 (the first coach training program accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF)).  CTI offers a certification program that requires candidates to first complete a core curriculum of 5 core competancies (totaling over 100h of in class training) that ground students in the Co-Active, technique of coaching followed by a 6 month certification and mentoring program with a Professional or Master Certified Coach from the ICF.  After successful completion of the course, and completion of the requisite paid coaching hours, candidates are eligible to take the oral and written exams.

Current research has shown that Co-Active Coaching is compatible with health behaviour theory and has been associated with positive health and behavioural changes in obesity, physical activity and smoking cessation