Chapter one

What is coaching?


In this chapter, we will study the basic coaching process and the characteristics of the coaching conversation, distilling the key aspects of the work of the coach. Exploring a historical perspective of coaching will help us to realise how the response to ‘What is coaching?’ provides only a partial and incomplete picture. This brings us to the conclusion that a comprehensive definition of coaching remains elusive.


The answer to ‘What is coaching?’ is neither simple nor straightforward. We think that it ought to be, and is, possible to provide a single comprehensive definition of coaching. After many years of coaching, I am still unable to solve this conundrum. The responses to the question of ‘What is coaching?’ ...

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