What is coaching, how it helps you, when it is useful

Although it is one of the fastest growing professions in recent years, there is a lot of confusion and mystery about coaching. We clarify below some aspects about what coaching is and how this development process can help you.

What is coaching?

“Coaching means partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

– definition by The International Coaching Federation, the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards and providing coaching certifications.

Historically, the name and inspiration for business coaching and life coaching are taken from sports. The common idea between sports and life coaching is training for performance. The difference is that, in coaching, performance can be related to any field: career, business, relationships, family, health etc.

Coaching is a development process oriented towards solutions and results, in the form of a partnership between you and an accredited coach with whom you have one-on-one meetings. A coach does not tell you what and how to do but asks you the right questions through which you discover and implement your own solutions to the challenges you face.

Precisely this aspect is transformational. Instead of discovering information written and lived by others, you become self-aware about your inner resources, personal blockages, about what you need to change in the ways you think and act.

What coaching is not? Distinctions and clarifications.

In the areas of adult learning and personal development, there are several processes that involve connecting with an expert. And the human mind tends to make associations and comparisons. Hence confusions or ambiguities related to coaching in relation to other development processes.

To have correct expectations and to benefit the most from the results of the coaching process, it is important to know from the beginning which are and which are not the roles of a coach.

  • A coach is not a psychotherapist. The therapist helps you identify psychological and emotional blockages, especially by exploring past traumatic experiences.
  • A coach is not a mentor. The mentor is an expert who shares with you the knowledge gained during his journey, gives you advice and examples in his area of expertise.
  • A coach is not a trainer. The trainer transmits knowledge to you, in a practical and theoretical way, to develop new skills – usually in larger groups.
  • A coach is not a consultant. The consultant is a specialist that punctually analyzes a given situation, and intervenes with solutions and expertise.

For example, in a simple explanation of the difference between them, if you want to learn to ride a bike:

  • The psychotherapist helps you find out the trauma that underlies your fear of cycling, to overcome it.
  • The mentor tells you how he managed to ride a bike.
  • The trainer makes you practice on a stationary bike.
  • The consultant gives you a report on how you can ride your bike most efficiently.
  • The coach makes a plan with you to learn to ride a bike and makes sure you stick to it.

When is coaching useful?

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

There are many situations in which coaching can help you. Some of the most common examples are:

  • You want to (re) define your goals;
  • You want to be successful and efficient, but for some reason, you still don’t succeed;
  • You want to make positive changes in your lifestyle;
  • You coordinate a team or a project and you want to be a better leader;
  • You find it harder to motivate yourself to go to the office and do things with a smile on your face;
  • You have to make an important or difficult decision;
  • You want to increase your self-confidence and appreciate yourself more;
  • You want to improve your relationships with others and your communication skills;
  • You are afraid of failure or that you will disappoint your colleagues/boss;
  • You want to make a career change and you don’t know where to start;
  • You have to solve a personal or organizational problem;
  • You want to reach a personal or professional goal more easily and rapidly.

The list can go on with your specific situations. Coaching is a personalized tool for development. The value of a conversation with a coach does not lie in transmitting knowledge about a certain topic, but in the power of questions and mirroring. Thus, you can call on a coach to get whatever you want, by your own strength.

To truly benefit from coaching, it is necessary for you to want to grow, to be open to discovering new things in yourself, and eager to make positive transformations. This leads us to:

When is the right time to get a coach?

Now that we’ve clarified a little bit about coaching, it would be helpful to know when to turn to a coach. Not everyone is ready or at the right time for such a process. Coaching is for those people who are ready to really make a change in their lives and who work in this direction.

For example, a few things that tell you if you are ready for coaching are:

  • You want to make positive changes in your life, you have a clear idea of ​​what you want (a coach can also help you identify goals, of course);
  • You feel that you can be open and direct with your coach, that you can be honest with yourself (coaching is a 100% confidential process, but it requires your personal openness);
  • You are willing to take the steps you propose between coaching sessions and work with you to maximize the experience;
  • You have the time and energy to attend coaching sessions;
  • You can see the long-term value of such a financial investment, for the quality of your life (and you have some financial resources to invest them in your development through this process);
  • You have the power to tell your coach what you need and to mention it when you feel that certain approaches do not help you;
  • You have the availability and openness to find and experience new ways of doing things, new concepts, and ideas.

It is not necessary to answer with a strong YES to all the above. But the closer these statements are to your current state, the more prepared you are for coaching and the more you will benefit from this process.

How is a good coach?

There are probably many people around you who hear that they have become or are coaches. It would be logical to ask yourself how you can make sure that it is a quality process and that you find a good coach. Indeed, when coaching is not done well, it can also have negative effects.

For example, irresponsible approaches in psychotherapy applied in coaching can open past traumas that a “coach” will not know how to handle. Tips and recommendations, if given, may not suit you and take you in the wrong direction. The judgment made by a “coach” about clients or the tendency to lead the discussion at a certain point can decrease the client’s self-esteem.

A good coach is a catalyst for your personal transformation. A good coach helps you to learn, to develop – he does not teach you things or ideas, as he sees them. A good professional knows what coaching is and understands the principles on which the process is based.

A good coach does not give advice because he understands about him that: “no matter what advice I would give you, I do not know your past, personality, resources – I do not have enough wisdom to give you the right advice.” A good coach knows that you need to find your own answers – these are the best answers because you are your own expert and the only one able to decide how you want to transform.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”


A good coach is humble, mature, listens to you actively and without judging you. In every coaching session, he is 100% attentive to you, is not preoccupied with his own challenges, and does not talk about them. He is there for you.

A good coach asks you questions that make you think and ponder. A good question comes at the right time and helps you later. It is a question that you have never thought about or that no one has asked you in this way and that goes straight to the center of the problem. Only with good questions will you find good solutions.

You can find a coach suitable for you from the recommendations of other people (friends, reviews, knowledgeable people), by reading what a coach writes and what he publishes online.

Online coaching, from anywhere

On BestJobs you can talk online with specialists, including coaches. You will receive personalized recommendations from which you can choose the right coach for you, or you can filter yourself through our coaches’ community. You can find specialists in life coaching, business coaching, performance coaching, executive coaching, relationships coaching.