What is Professional Coaching?

International Coach Federation (ICF) defines it as partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative manner that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.


Coaches honor the client as the expert in her or his life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach's responsibility is to:

  • Discover, clarify and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

In simple terms, coaching occurs through a series of conversations in which a coach uses their ability to listen deeply, ask powerful questions and create a relationship of trust and rapport that enables the client to be able dream big, get clarity on their dreams, improve confidence, solve problems and achieve your vision. 

What Coaching is Not?

While a coach could be capable of advising you, bear in mind that the role of the coach is to support, challenge and hold you accountable to changes you want to make. This is different from consulting, mentoring, training, therapy, counseling, life management, friendship or religious ministry.

What Are Some of the Reasons for Having a Coach?

If questions such as these are the ones you would like to seek answers/solutions for, then coaching would be an appropriate approach to find answers and/or achieve results.

  • Something urgent, compelling or exciting is at stake (e.g. a challenge, stretch goal or opportunity)
  • A gap exists in knowledge, skills, confidence or resources
  • A desire to accelerate results
  • A lack of clarity with choices to be made
  • Success has started to become problematic
  • Work and life are out of balance, creating unwanted consequences
  • Core strengths need to be identified, along with how best to leverage them

What to Expect?

The Coach will:

  • Facilitate gentle exploration of your needs, skills and thought process.
  • Help you identify your own solutions and action steps (instead of giving direct advice).
  • Be supportive and non-judgmental, be a thinking partner (what do you think?).
  • Help you to map out a plan, strategy for your goals.
  • Support you to overcome barriers and situational roadblocks.
  • Help you create new awareness.
  • Be supportive to improve confidence and enhance capabilities.

Your coach and you will have an initial discovery conversation, which will set the clear objectives and outcomes for the coaching contract.

Your Investment

Be ready to play along. Commit to making the relationship meaningful and productive. Here are few things which will help with your success.

  • Assume full responsibility for personal decisions and actions
  • Show up on time, clear your desk, turn off your cell phone, close emails, put away any other distractions and play full-out during our sessions. Be willing to stretch and be open to discovering ‘blind-spots’, receive feedback in order to help expedite achieving your goals.
  • Be open and honest to get the most out of your coaching sessions
  • Allow yourself to be open to new possibilities, varied ideas and unique ways of finding solutions.


The contents of every coaching session/relationship is totally confidential and will not be shared with anyone else.

Links and Relevant Research

The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. As of 2017, there are almost 30,000 ICF members with chapters spread around 140 countries of the world.

Recent Ted Talk on Coaching

Becoming an expert doesn't mean you don't need to be coached. You are never done: even the world's greatest needs a coach. Watch the Ted Talk.

About ICF

ICF Washington is one of the earliest chapters of ICF and they are 5th largest in the U.S. both in the number of members and the growth.




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