The different forms of coaching

11 May

The following definitions are from the Standards Australia Handbook on Coaching in Organisations (2011).


A collaborative endeavour between a coach and a client (an individual or group) for the purpose of enhancing the life experience, skills, performance, capacities or wellbeing of the client. This is achieved through the systematic application of theory and practice to facilitate the attainment of the coachee’s goals in the coachee’s context.

Executive coaching

Coaching services provided to executives and line managers for the purpose of improving skills, performance or work-related professional and personal development.

Leadership coaching

Coaching which aims at developing the skills, abilities and capacities of leaders for the purpose of enhancing leadership.

Development coaching

Coaching aimed at enhancing a coachee’s ability to meet current and future challenges more effectively via the development of increasingly complex understanding of the self, others and the systems in which the coachee is involved. This is sometimes called transformational coaching.


Performance coaching

Coaching that is aimed at improving the coachee’s ability to achieve work-related goals such as specific metric-based organizational outcomes. It is not so much interested in the acquisition or establishment of skills as it is in assisting the coachee to use established skills more effectively. Performance coaching typically involves the articulation of desired levels of performance and pathways to achieve those goals. It may also involve the identification of current and potential cognitive, behavioural and environmental blocks to performance. Whilst often conducted as a stand-alone intervention (e.g. targeted goal-focused coaching), it is often a subset of a wider coaching intervention involving skills coaching, developmental and remedial coaching strategies. Coaches engaged in performance coaching can be expected to have knowledge and skills associated with goal-setting, motivation and change management.

Skills coaching

Coaching that is aimed at acquiring or improving work-related skills. Examples of such skills include (but are not limited to) delegation, time management, active listening, questioning, feedback and performance management skills. The purpose of skills coaching is to build capability, rather than achieve particular work-related targets. While skills coaching can be conducted as a stand-alone intervention (e.g. following a skills training course), it is often a subset of a wider coaching intervention involving performance and developmental coaching strategies. Coaches engaged in skills coaching can be expected to have knowledge of the process of skills acquisition, and competencies in supporting the coachee to acquire and develop the particular skills targeted in the coaching.


Remedial coaching

Coaching aimed at the remediation of problematic attitudes or behaviours that interfere with the coachee’s organizational performance. It may involve a combination of skills, performance or developmental coaching, and is most often conducted in response to the identification of behaviours perceived as needing to change if desired performance and career opportunities are to be realised. In addition to knowledge and skills associated with skills, performance and developmental coaching, a coach engaging in remedial coaching is expected to have competencies and understanding of the psychological and behavioural processes associated with the attitudes and behaviours inhibiting progress.

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