Types and styles of coaching

What do we mean by coaching? 

 Broadly speaking we are looking at different styles of coaching – executive and management coaching which can include Directive and Non-Directive coaching. These two are further defined below. Other types of coaching include:

  • Career Coaching – the longer-term career planning and development of the talent pool
  • Performance Coaching – aimed at correctly or developing particular areas of personal development aligned to the needs of the employing organisation
  • Skills Coaching – Even tighter in focus than Performance Coaching, Skills Coaching aims to correct skills shortfalls in the coachee as a result of a Career Path Needs Skills Inventory
  • Business Coaching – the focus here is on learnings about the commercial aspects and needs of the organisation and a programme of coaching to address shortfalls on the part of the coachee. Examples of this could be a deeper understanding of how Finance impacts on the organisation, or aspects of Marketing
  • Life coaching – not normally popular for sponsorship in organisations as this addresses the individual’s life style needs, not the organisation


Directive Coaching

 This form of coaching applies where there is a specific need to blend coaching with guidance and advice. Typical examples are;

  • Training – The coaching piece is part of the training topic where the coachee would for example be asked to create their action plan past the training, or to address how the coachee will deal with anticipated on the job issues and challenges.
  • Advising – This is getting close to being overly directive and any element of coaching disappears. By all means discuss options with the coachee but try to leave the option decision to them. Be wary of offering suggestions as they imply your solution to the topic and not theirs. It key with this form of coaching that the decision on action be theirs.
  • Giving feedback – This a great way to introduce coaching. Based on what the coachee has produced your feedback can be blended with questions about what they have done, what improvement could they make, timescales going forward etc.


Non-Directive coaching

 This type of coaching is all about asking questions and listening, creating the environment where the coachee has a chance to reflect, think and be guided by the coach’s technique. Often this type would be seen as the standard approach for executive and management coaching.

Here are some broad issues to consider when considering using this in your management role:

  • Purpose – is it for your benefit or your colleagues? Be clear about what you want out of the discussion and take the other party’s needs into account.
  • Setting – where are you going to have the chat? Is the setting suitable for creative discussion? Will the other party be comfortable and relaxed, so you can get the best outcomes?
  • Meeting expectations – yours and theirs. Has this been established before you meet? Do you believe you will get a better result “playing it off the cuff?
  • Documenting decisions. Coachees normally take the notes, but you will have to on this occasion. Don’t take meeting minutes, just note the decisions or future actions, by whom and when.
  • The follow up – making sure what has been agreed is fulfilled. The “coaching style” discussion should have led to your colleague taking action. Did you agree a follow up session? Are there actions for you by certain date/time?


If you want to see the full version of this article then take a look at our book 100+ Top Tips on Managing Your Coaching Needs.