What is coaching?

Coaching is a form of learning, where a person (a coach) supports someone else (a coachee) to create learning and self-development in a way that benefits them.

Coaching is normally a conversation, or series of conversations, one person has with another. The coach intends to produce a conversation that will benefit you (the coachee) in a way that relates to your learning and progress.  Coaching conversations might happen in different ways and in different environments.

Why would you be interested in coaching?

You are likely to want a coach because you want to improve your situation and achieve goals. You might want to learn new ways of thinking and approaching situations, in order to get better results. Common goals might be being more organised and effective at work, gaining confidence in certain situations, or simply relating to other people more effectively.

A skilled coach uses a combination of observation, questioning, listening and feedback to create a conversation rich in insight and learning.  You will experience a focus and attention that enables you to develop a greater awareness and appreciation of your own circumstances. In addition, you’ll create new ways to resolve issues, produce better results and generally achieve your goals more easily.

Common benefits you could expect from coaching include:

– Improved sense of direction & focus
– Increased knowledge of self/self-awareness
– Improved ability to relate to and influence others
– Increased motivation
– Improved personal effectiveness, e.g. focussed effort
– Increased resourcefulness/resilience, e.g. ability to handle change
– Improved self-belief or levels of confidence

BPA Coaching is not…

Structured Training, e.g. classroom learning

Coaching follows a more flexible format that relates to your objectives. Both you and the coach influence the direction and content of sessions.  Coaching also places real responsibility for learning on you and encourages learning to continue after the session.

Therapy, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy

Whilst coaching is not therapy and should not viewed as such, it can provide an opportunity for you to resolve a situation.  For example, coaching promotes a greater self-awareness and fuller appreciation of your own situation and circumstances.  Sometimes, change can be promoted by a simple shift in perspectives. Barriers of self-belief such as “I can’t” or “I don’t” can be challenged in order to encourage fresh approaches and ideas.

A way of someone else solving your problems

Coaching is based on the principle that you are ultimately responsible for yourself and the results you’re getting. If we acknowledge that we are responsible for something, it follows that we have power and influence over it. For example, if you’re not getting the results at work that you want, a coach might encourage you to:

a.    Understand that situation more clearly

b.    Develop new ideas or approaches for those situations

c.    Take constructive action that gets you the results you want

What a coach will not do is instruct you to go and do something specific or go and do it for you. If they did, the coach would be taking responsibility – and so power – away from you.

What you can expect from a BPA coach

The role of a coach provides a kind of support distinct from any other. Your coach will focus solely on your situations with the kind of attention and commitment that you rarely experience anywhere else.  Your coach will listen to you, with a genuine curiosity to understand who you are, what you think and generally how you experience the world. Your coach will reflect back to you, with the kind of objective assessment and challenge that creates real clarity.

Because the relationship is based on trust and openness, the contents of your discussions will be confidential.

What your coach will expect from you

In return, your coach will encourage you to stay committed to the coaching process.  That means showing up for sessions, taking your own notes where appropriate, and keeping any agreements you make during sessions.

In addition, your coach needs you to be open to the potential of coaching. That means contributing to conversations honestly and openly. For example, if something isn’t working, your coach needs to know. If you have concerns or problems, voice them. If you know why a problem is occurring, say so. The strength and power of coaching relates directly to the level of openness and trust in this relationship

One to One Executive Coaching Sessions for Senior Managers

The outcome from these one to one coaching sessions is essentially business development action plans for the individual. This would be achieved by the ‘real world’ issues of the manager involved as they seek to become more effective within the context of the organisation’s senior management team.  Indeed, rather than getting in the way of goal and task achievement these sessions would be designed positively to enable this.  The coaching would apply a solution orientated, problem solving approach. 

The following is a summary of the process to be used with Coachee’s

ContractingAgreeing mutual roles contribution and relationship parameters
Diagnosing  Joint diagnosing of the ‘current’ state
Goal Setting  Joint definition of desired performance goals
ImplementationJoint development of an Action Plan that is implemented by the coachees and supported by the coach
Review, measurement & Adaptation  Jointly review and measure progress against goals at agreed milestones
ConfirmationJoint summative review of goal achievement and joint affirmation of new level of competence acquired


– Individual leadership plans and actions
– Knowing one’s own sense of purpose
– Defines strategies for dealing more effectively with specific challenges and opportunities through use of the Strategic Clock technique
– Understanding of the Influencing skills required at a senior level
– Better able to plan and execute effective change strategies within own unit or department
– Better able to play an ‘added value’ role within the strategic leadership team
– Maintaining own ‘wellbeing’ and developing resilience techniques


The following questions will help you form goals for a coaching relationship.  They are not intended to identify specifics, but rather encourage thoughts or ideas.  Please take some time to sit quietly with the questions, writing down your answers on a blank sheet of paper.  You may want to provide information about these points at your initial meeting.

1. What current goals (if any) do you have relating to the following areas:

i. Your work, e.g.

– Personal performance/effectiveness
– Career development, progression
– Ability to lead/manage others
– Motivation, fulfillment

ii. Your lifestyle, e.g.

– Work/life balance

iii. Your relationships with others, e.g.

– Your manager
– Your team or your peers
– Your internal/external business customers or suppliers

iv. Your learning/development, e.g.

– Life experiences
– Formal training/development
– Assessment Centres

v. Your sense of contribution

– At work

vi. Your health/well-being

– Health and ability to cope
– Nutrition & fitness, relaxation etc.

2.  Thinking about your current circumstances

– What would you like to do less of?

– What would you like to do more of?

3. What would you most like to change if you could?

4. What’s going really well for you right now and how would you like to build on that?

e.g. do more of it, or make it even better.

5. In what ways do you currently obtain learning?

– By experience, i.e. doing things
– Formal study, e.g. taking qualifications
– Through observation of others
– Reading, listening to audiotapes, etc.
– Structured training, i.e. courses
– Mentoring or coaching relationships, e.g. discussion, feedback
– How much does your level and style of learning support your goals and objectives?
– What will support or challenge you as you develop?
– Your personal qualities
– Other people around you
– The coaching conversations
– Do you acknowledge that an external view could be helpful (even critical) to your success?
– Are you prepared to work in a safe and confidential environment and acknowledge and explore your development needs?
– How much do you want to discuss your development needs with someone?

– How willing are you to act on your development ideas and plans?
– How will you involve your manager during this journey?
– How will you measure progress during or after the coaching?


You should now have gained a better understanding of how coaching can support your development.  Perhaps you’ve also begun to think about your own situations and goals, and are beginning to imagine how coaching could support you. 

Coaching Psychometrics:

MBTI Step 2

MBTI Stress Report

Hay Emotional Competency Inventory (Emotional Intelligence 360º)

Hogan DARK Side


16 Personality Factors Bringing Performance Alive (Leadership 360º)