What is Coaching?

“Coaching is a journey within, as it helps unleash an individual’s potential to maximize their performance.”

Coaching is more about how you get the results, i.e., ‘Journey’ rather than achieving the results. In this era, people are more behind the results, but the secret lies in the journey to achieve the results. Though knowledge, facts, and experience are essential to get the results, broadening perspective, the focus of attention and self-motivation are equally important. Coaching uplifts the awareness and increases the sense of responsibility in an individual to play at their bests. Having the right mindset is a key to high performance – responsibility & awareness are both states of mind.

Coaching believes that solutions for any problem of an individual can be found within, and partnering with a coach would change their life. A coach ingrains trust and confidence, creating a space for the coachee to have structured professional conversations that allow them to demonstrate their ability to find solutions.

“Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” – International Coaching Federation (ICF).
According to ICF, Coaching unlocks a person’s potential through powerful questioning that, in turn, leads them to dig deep within, think and reflect on playing at their full potential.

The Inner Game

The Inner Game Equation

“Grow potential and reduce self-interference. Don’t just be a doer in life; whatever you are doing, learn, evolve, and maximize your enjoyment of the limited time you are given.” ~ Tim Gallwey

Timothy Gallwey, a Harvard educationalist and tennis expert, demonstrated the first simple but comprehensive coaching methodology in 1974 with his book called “ The Inner Game of Tennis.”

Gallwey refers to the internal state of a player as an inner game as he believed “the opponent within one’s own head is more formidable than the other side of the net.” He thinks a player can dwindle and dislodge the internal hindrances to the performance by partnering with the coach. This engagement with the coach will help a player open up the untapped potential to learn and perform with minimal technical input.

“Internal Obstacles are often more daunting than external ones.”

Gallwey further illustrated “ The Inner Game Equation”, which effectively summarizes the objective of modern coaching.

Performance (P) = Potential (p) – Interference (i)

He believes both coaching and the Inner game focus on improving performance (P) by growing potential (p) and by decreasing interference (i). Transformational Leaders and Coaches believe that every individual is competent and full of potential. Raising their self-reliance will reduce the internal obstacles and lead to powerful choices by capitalizing on the unique qualities of each individual.

Difference between Teaching, Mentoring, Counselling, and Coaching

Although, in general, these terms are used interchangeably by many, there is a huge difference in terms of their meanings as well as their purpose.
Teaching or Training involves the transfer of specific skills and knowledge. It focuses on the acquiring of such skills and knowledge through a predetermined learning curriculum. It opts for the ‘tell-advise-ask questions’ mode of communication through more of a directive than a non-directive approach. The relation hence gets built, is that of Teaching.
Mentoring involves helping in transferring the formal-tacit knowledge and skills, experience, mindset, wisdom, and best practices. It focuses on the mentee’s personal and professional growth but no specific learning plan is involved, be it formally or informally. It opts for the ‘Ask questions-Listen-Give Advice’ mode of communication through both directive and non-directive approaches. The relation hence gets created is that of Advisory.
Counselling involves confronting, correcting, and instructing a change in terms of attitude and behaviour to improve the performance that is below standards. It focuses on listening to the employee(s)’s problems and issues, giving feedback, and explicitly managing expectations. It opts for the ‘Tell-Advise-Ask questions’ mode of communication through more of a directive than a non-directive approach. The relation hence gets established is that of Management.
Coaching involves helping or Partnering to be precise, with the individuals or groups to enable them to self-discover and take ownership of achieving the desired goals. It focuses on empowering the Coachee to discover their hidden potential and make changes in terms of behaviour and performance. It opts for the ‘Ask questions-Listen-Give Feedback’ mode of communication through a non-directive approach. The relation hence gets developed is that of Collaboration
All the four mentioned above act like different paths leading to the same destination. Although they seem different in terms of focus, approach, and modes of communication, the objective that they advocate remains the same- ‘improving the performance of the employees/groups’.

What is the History of Coaching in the Workplace?

The roots of coaching in the workplace are in a development pathway that can be traced back to 1995. Still, a few earlier studies state its foundation in 1937 when C. B. Gorby published “Everyone Gets a Share of the Profits”. From that phase, coaching research has noted a progression that has moved from an exploration phenomenon to a focus that is increasingly on the effect of the intervention on clients.

Who Invented Performance Coaching?

Sir John Whitmore, the founder of Performance Coaching, coined the name ‘Performance Coaching’ in 1992. He developed the most influential coaching model used by all the coaches in the world today – the ‘Grow Model.’ Performance coaching as a concept was designed by the techniques used by Timothy Gallwey in his book ‘Inner Game’ to describe the self-directed learning process and differentiate it from conventional sports coaching.  Executive coaching, business, career, personal and other types of coaching are all built on the principles of performance coaching.

Stages of Coaching Process

How does coaching work

Identifying/Setting Goals-

Before undertaking any journey, it is very crucial to have a destination, to have a direction to be followed. Similarly, in the process of Coaching, it is crucial to establish the purpose of the conversation, like “What the Coachee expects to achieve at the end of the Coaching conversation?”

Deep Exploration-

In this step, the Coach has to be flexible in terms of perspective. This is yet another important step, wherein, the Coach has to ask insightful questions, listen actively, and wear multiple hats to gauge the situation through different perspectives.

Action plan-

Once the goals are set, and exploration is done, the next step in the process is to turn them into actionable, to accomplish the purpose of the Coaching Conversation.

It is very essential to keep the Follow-up actions:

  • Small in number, to ensure focus.
  • Measurable.

Moreover, it is important to ensure that the discussion on the positive alignment of individual goals to the Organisation’s overall results is done

The above steps are, however, always governed by Ethics, and anchored by the Trust between the Coachee and the Coach.

To understand the above process in detail, please refer to the blog that talks about the Coaching Process.


The Benefits of Coaching

Coaching has been lately opted by many for the various benefits that it offers, be it to the organisation(s) or the individual(s). The following are some of those-







Increased mental health

Work-life balance


Increases Employee Engagement

Empowers Individuals

Improves performance of individuals

High commitment from employees

Deeper learning levels

What’s the Purpose of Workplace Coaching?

What’s the Purpose of Workplace Coaching

“To get the best out of people, we have to believe the best is in there.” – Sir John Whitmore

Coaching in the workplace means empowering employees to be the best version of themselves. In this, the relationship is between the employee and the coach to work together on the areas of improvement and deepen their strengths to sustain the employee’s performance.

By adopting workplace coaching employers’, can cultivate their employee’s willingness to do the job, leading to higher productivity and satisfaction.  Unleashing an employee’s potential allows the organization to be more holistic, discovering the integrity and purpose of the organization’s future and the blueprint for high performance.

Process of Coaching in the Workplace

Coaching works towards supporting the employee to be empowered to optimise the employee’s performance effectively. However, it is not a step but a whole process that goes on and on and on in cycles.

Connect Regularly

Track Progress

Revisit or Set Goals

Work towards solutions

Create action steps

Coaching is a process that involves reflective practices on both sides. Hence, it requires several meetings at regular and frequent enough intervals. This is required to build and maintain the connection, which is very crucial for creating the foundation for the coaching relationship based on trust and partnering.
The connection, once built, will help the coach to constantly track the progress of the Coachee by using powerful and reflective questioning. This would help the coach to understand the direction of the progress as well as check its momentum. This tracking would enable the coach to visualise the path further, which in turn would facilitate the further plan of action.
Once the coach can track the progress and understand the position where the Coach is standing, the coach can tune the game plan accordingly. The Coach and the Coachee together can partner with each other and pay a visit to the goals, which are already set and to be set as well. This revisiting of the goals will not only help to understand the current condition but also help in redefining the path to the defined goals.
Just revisiting the goals will never be enough. The solutions have to be sought and worked for. The whole process of coaching aims at partnering with the coach to make the coach find the solutions on their own. It could be of great importance to firstly understand “what one wants to do” to understand “what needs to be done to reach that certain point/destination”.

However, the role of the coach is not to provide solutions but to make the Coachee do it by themselves. This will help in empowering the coach to think independently

Once the goals have been established and the solution has been identified, the next step is to lay out the path that will be taken to get there. This involves defining the steps to be taken for walking along the path-to-be-tread.

Nevertheless, like goals, even the steps towards the goals also need to be SMART (as in S: Specific; M: Measurable; A: Achievable; R: Relevant; T: Time-based)

These Steps should be such that the Coachee can independently undertake them to reach the desired goals and solutions.

This can start another cycle of the process, like- The next time the Coach meets the Coachee, the progress could be checked as to where the Coachee is standing on the path defined and if the Coachee could see any progress.

CONCLUSION – Great Coaching is the ROOT to Strong Leadership

Coaching is person-specific, it requires constant visiting – moving forward – revisiting – redefining the cycle in the loop. There are numerous opportunities for learning every day. Great leaders and coaches seize these opportunities by being courageous enough to speak up, listen, and act on what they learn. Great Impactful coaching, like breathing to singing, is the foundation of strong leadership. Coaching is the future of Leadership. We truly believe that if you are not coaching – you are not leading to your full potential!

Want to know more about how you can become a Coach, then write to us at info@regalunlimited.com or visit Global ICF Coaching.

This blog on What is Coaching and Coaching process is penned by Sheetal Banik & Sonia Sanku.

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