The question I hear most often is, ‘Why does coaching work? I don’t get it. It is too simple.’ I hear this from clients, and people who are new to coaching. It seems that nothing happens except a bit of journaling and brainstorming in many sessions. It doesn’t look like the coach invests a lot of effort, but the results are measurable, and there is ample evidence to support the successful approaches to coaching.

This article is designed to help people understand the fundamentals of coaching. This brief introduction to coaching may help you determine if coaching is right for you, and help you find a coach.

Collective Wisdom

The relationship between the coach and coachee is unique. No other discipline creates a parallel interaction. Most other disciplines use the mentor and the disciple, the teacher and student, the doctor and patient. These all create a pyramid or a Vertical relationship. The relationship in the life coaching interaction is even different from sports coaching. There is a two tiered approach to this strategy.

In coaching the coach assumes a relationship position that respects the brilliance and self-preservation instincts. The coach allows the coachee the freedom to build their own development strategy. There may be things wrong in your life, things you want to change. There are also a lot of good things. Some people are not aware of their strengths, but given the freedom to develop them, they quickly learn that they are stronger and more proactive than they once believed.

The second tier is the collective community among many ‘good’ coaches. The strategies utilize the wisdom of thousands of masters, and incorporate new strategies and the successful techniques of multiple therapies. This is combined with ‘competencies’. A coach does not get accreditation merely by earning their degree. They must prove their skills and abilities.

Coaches have influence over the coachee. This means that they how the power to effect another person’s life through indirect means. They teach people problem solving skills, and help them take a new look at their lives. This role is taken seriously in the coaching circles. Unlike therapy or counselling where a person can graduate and then work for years, coaches are forced to continually be coached, learn, and improve. This alters the mindset of a coach. By continually being coached they are less aggressive and authoritative. They posses many of the same skills as their colleagues, but their approach is different.


This word is used to reflect the coaches’ goal of bringing out the possibilities in someone. It is a progress, a journey, to cause to grow and increase. It includes elaborating and highlighting. A farmer plants a small seed, and it grows into a big plant. But the farmer only planted the seed. The plant grew on its own with help from the farmer and weather. In the same way, coaches plant seeds and then watch that seed grow to make sure it doesn’t wither or fade.

In many therapies, the therapist will teach the patient a set technique, or coping skill. They may help the person become aware of something and help them learn to deal with it. Coaches start with the same concepts, but instead of teaching people What to do, they work with them and help them learn How to do it. This leaves the coachee stronger and able to manage their own problems, identify opportunities, and avoid bad relationships.

The skills learned in coaching will bleed over into other aspects of a person’s life, strengthening their entire being, and creating a balance and sense of wellness. This is because coaching creates a catalyst relationship that accelerates performance. This is done by creating a partnership where the coachee defines what needs to be done, when, and how much effort to invest. This mimics the support that should naturally come from friends and family.

The coach wants to help people let go of what they have been doing all their life, and try something different. Instead of healing – think evolution. Instead of coping – think mastery of a skill set that empowers you.

The Session

These two elements explain why it is easier to work with a coach than to change behaviours by reading books, or by the DIY method. The coach may only brainstorm and it may look like you did most of the work. But the coach is constantly seeding new thoughts and new skills. They are coaxing out new possibilities from within. They are establishing a healthy relationship that you can model in the future.

Coaching is a by product of today’s society. It is the result of our busy lives. We no longer take time for ourselves. The coach is here to help people take time to improve their lives, but also to help them focus and get the most out of the time invested. And to help them develop the skills needed to succeed. This is why the coaching session may not always be invested on the goals. Reaching your goals is only half the battle. Developing a strong sense of self worth is needed to keep the momentum flowing – even after the coaching relationship ends.

The Results

The session is about the process, the journey. However, the entire coaching relationship has one focus, the results. The ultimate objective is emotional maturity, transformation from a lesser to a greater state, and a more fulfilling state of being or doing. To repeat this in non coach language, the goal is to create a sense of wellness and balance, to empower coachees and increase their inner strength, to give them the problem solving skills to succeed, and to help them change destructive behaviour.

Coaching only progresses as fast as the coachee can ‘get it.’ And it only focuses on the areas the coachee wants to focus on, at this particular moment. This is the secret to the success of coaching. To walk side by side with a coach until the coachee is strong enough, and is equipped with the tools needed to live a happier, more successful, healthier life.

The important thing to remember is that coaches are people too. It is important to find one with the mindset you want to develop. Make sure they feel like a friend and are open to your possibilities. This may require a few trial runs, but finding the right life coach is the first step to a better life.

Author's Bio: 

Suzanne James has 10 years experience as an online life coach and using the telephone to facilitate her coaching strategy. She has vast experience helping clients reset their core values, make changes in their communication and relationship styles, and take back control of their lives. There is a wealth of information on her website: