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Coaching Style Glossary

January 11, 2024

Posted by BOLDLY

Agile: Agile Coaches use the Agile method of project management – which is primarily a mindset, culture, and communication change which is sought after in creative and innovative environments. It is a shift from command-and-control or ‘waterfall’ project management practices to collaborative, team centric environments. Agile Coaches have usually come from IT Development, Project Management and Design backgrounds.


Behavioural/GROW: Behavioral Coaches facilitate the performance, learning and development of the individual or team by specifically focusing on actions, goals and habit formation. The overall goal of behavioral coaching is to help individuals increase their effectiveness and happiness at work, study, or in a social setting by breaking down current behaviours and activating new replacement behaviours. The GROW model encourages learning through experience: reflection, insight, making choices and pursuing them. The coachee is personally active in identifying problems and generating ideas for solutions.


Cognitive-Behavioural: Cognitive-Behavioural coaching aims to help clients gain a perspective about whatever is at the root of their difficulty. A Coach with this style will typically have a background in psychology, and will work together with you to identify what might be stopping you from reaching your full potential. This approach is particularly valuable for stress management.


Existential: Existential Coaches encourage Citizens to define their personal purpose, and explore topics such as meaning, authenticity, freedom, choice and responsibility, and how these come into play in their lives. A Coach with this approach may have studied a psychoanalytic approach through their training.


Gestalt: Gestalt Coaches seek to facilitate transformational change – personal change that is not only focused on behavioural change but on supporting a growing awareness of the whole person. Gestalt coaching supports you to become more of who you are, and believes it is in following this path that you gain access to your future potential. A Coach who works with this style should have a background in psychology.


Group Coaching: Citizens undertaking group coaching benefit from peer learning, or the collective wisdom of the group. This peer learning is often as important as the interaction with the Coach. When we talk about groups, we are talking about people who come together with a common interest but do not always have the same goal in mind. For example, a group of people may come together to be coached on effective leadership, but each individual has their own personal goals, and their role is not in relationship with other group participants.  


Group Relations: The Group Relations method aims to help groups who are in a relationship (ie a team) to improve the focus on their tasks, improve performance, better utilize group members’ potentials and reduce the constraining effects of competing dynamics. This is a powerful approach for intact teams who need to get through conflict, change, or simply optimize their working relationships. A Coach delivering this work should have a background in psychology, and specifically a psychodynamic approach.


Motivational Interviewing: Motivational Interviewing is a method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behaviour. This method often deeply explores your values, so that any decision or life transition can be clearly rooted. It is a practical, empathetic, and short-term process that takes into consideration how difficult it is to make life changes. This method may be integrated with other styles of coaching.


Ontological: Ontological coaching takes a holistic approach to personal development, believing there must be shifts in language, emotions and body to affect deep and sustainable behavioural change. This is sometimes known as ‘whole person’ Coaching, and leverages other methods of Coaching.


Psychodynamic: Psychodynamic coaching aims to help you achieve insight and understanding around the reasons for your problems, and to translate this insight into a mature capacity to cope with current and future difficulties. This approach attempts to tap-into the subconscious by discussing associations, dreams, family relationships, power structures, and role analysis in your life. This approach to coaching should be undertaken by a Coach with a background in Psychology.


Solution Focused: Solution Focused coaching is centered on helping the Citizen find solutions rather than problems, building on strengths rather than weaknesses and finding positive ways forward rather than examining barriers. This coaching approach is very closely related to the GROW model, and Strengths-based coaching.


Strengths-based: Strengths-based Coaches work with you to identify your strengths and help you discover how using them more consciously can increase your success—by understanding, developing and applying your strengths to your goals. Often we focus on our weaknesses and areas for development, which is important, however we can also benefit from better exploring how to deploy existing capabilities. This approach builds confidence and capability.


Team Coaching: Team coaching differs slightly from group coaching in that we define teams as people who are all aligned and headed to a common goal or outcome, such as the completion of a particular project. When we talk about groups, we are talking about people who come together with a common interest but do not always have the same goal in mind.  Team coaching is tactical and practical, whereas group dynamics is more aimed at unearthing truths from the collective subconscious.


Transactional Analysis: Transactional analysis is a form of modern psychology that examines a person's relationships and interactions. It can be used to address one's interactions and communications to establish and reinforce the idea that each individual is valuable and has the capacity for positive change and personal growth. This approach should be undertaken by a Coach with a background in psychology.


Transformational: Transformational coaching is similar to “life coaching”. It involves helping people bettering themselves and their broader lives (both inside and outside work) by bringing about necessary changes across all aspects of life. Instead of changing how you act, transformational coaching clients work on changing the way you see yourself.


Transpersonal: Transpersonal coaching identifies the unconscious triggers and patterns that give rise to your current thoughts, feelings, behaviours and resulting circumstances. It is an empowering process which helps you discover the power and effectiveness of who you really are. This approach is closely related to the psychodynamic approaches, and should be undertaken with a Coach who has a background in Psychology  


Workshop / Programme Support: Coaches who have worked in corporate environments as part of learning teams. Often these coaches will take a GROW, Behavioural, Strengths-based or Solutions-focused approach to support skill development and performance enhancement, in line with a companies programme objectives.

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