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  • Writer's picturePriya Sharma Shaikh

What is Professional Coaching all about?

Coaching, as a must-have life tool, is gaining momentum across the globe, bringing into its fold innumerable people from all walks of life and all levels of society, making them live their lives anew. The week of 07 May 2018 was the INTERNATIONAL COACHING WEEK, an annual weeklong global celebration of the coaching profession, with an intention to create an awareness about the value of working with a professional coach. Coaches from around the world put forth their knowledge and time in a variety of pro bono webinars and in-person coaching experiences for attendees.

In this blog I'd like to clear the clouds on coaching. What it is, who can be a coach, how it can help you and who can have a coach.


In India, if you ask people about Coaching, the answer usually is yes however, in reality, what they are talking of is tutoring in subjects to prepare for competitive examinations. You would have heard of coaches that specialise in a subject or in a type of music, dance, acting, sports, investment and many such. Many professionals show themselves as an expert in a specific field, by calling themselves as a coach. However, these professionals are not coaches – they are trainers or teachers that teach a specific technique or skill or subject. Coaching is also confused with mentoring, consulting, counselling and therapy. All of these professions are of help to people but they are not Coaching - a mentor is someone who has seniority and expertise that could be shared with a younger colleague, a therapist heals wounds from the past and consultants analyse business situations and suggest solutions. There is clearly a huge gap in the understanding of what the profession of Coaching is all about.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as

Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.


A professional Coach is someone who is trained to hold a safe space akin to a receptive vessel for the client. By that definition anybody who gets happiness in seeing people thrive can be a coach. The Coach helps the Coachee design his/her own future by being a patient listener, by asking powerful open-ended questions, making the Coachee see the bigger picture, encouraging the Coachee to reflect and commit while keeping a positive focus and having no judgement.

The Coach does not give you any solutions or advice.


The Client or the COACHEE, is always the centre of the engagement and it is he/she who decides on the agenda for the coaching session. The Coach's job then is to make the Coachee explore the life situation he/she is dealing with. As the Coach probes the Coachee's life situation it makes the Coachee reflects and talk about his/her life situation and with that countless possibilities emerge for life ahead. This process empowers the Coachee to make a shift in his/her life that could help in bringing about desired change, improve leadership and performance, change paradigms, beliefs and habits and deal with roadblocks, if any.


All coaches that are members of ICF are bound by the ICF Code of Ethics, which ensures that a client's confidentiality is maintained at all costs. The Code makes Coaches conscious of taking action against violators of the ethics including themselves and keeping ICF informed in such instances. I personally find it valuable to communicate and create awareness about the Code to not only sponsors and my clients but also to other stakeholders within the ecosystem about the responsibilities established by the Code.

It is heartening to see the thriving community of coaches across India creating networks, groups and communities to make as many people benefit from the profession of coaching as it is truly a proven and compelling tool that has the power to bring about changes in an organization's culture and deliver the results leaders dream of and have powerful impact on a person's quality of life at home and at work.

I would like to conclude by saying that Coaching is for everyone and I believe that everyone should have a coach to help them live their life to full potential.”

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