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What is Coaching? – Explained by different Coaching Bodies

coaching definitions

Ask anyone about coaching, and the person will immediately relate it to sports or athletics. Although accurate, that is just one of the many areas associated with coaching. There are life coaches, executive coaches, career coaches, and more such certified professionals. But what is coaching? What is the definition of coaching?

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Coaches help people tap into their true potential, which leads to fulfilling personal and professional objectives. In this blog, we’ll read about various coaching definition followed by leading global coaching bodies. These non-profit organizations support and accredit the professionals and institutes that train them.

Coaching definition by ICF

International Coach Federation (ICF) is the largest organization offering accreditation to professional coaches. It is globally recognized for setting the highest standards within the coaching community. They have a robust network of trained and certified coaches across the world. Their name is enough to offer credibility to a person’s coaching credentials.

 ICF defines coaching as…

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

The coach acknowledges the client as an expert on his/her personal and professional issues. The client is considered a resourceful and creative person. Professional coaching focuses on establishing goals, creating outcomes, and achieving personal transformation. As per ICF, the coach’s responsibility is to:

  • Explore, define, and align with what the client wants to accomplish.
  • Encourage clients towards self-discovery.
  • Evoke client-generated solutions and approaches.
  • Make the client accountable and liable.
  • Help clients improve their perspectives on work and life
  • Improving client’s leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

As shared by ICF, coaching has helped millions of people improve their work and life perspectives. Coaching enhance their qualities to lead a fulfilling life.

Coaching definition by EMCC

EMCC stands for European Mentoring and Coaching Council. EMCC is one of the major global organizations within the coaching domain alongside ICF. It also describes its work as setting high standards for coaching, mentoring, and supervision globally. Like ICF, they also accredit certified coaches and boast a strong network of coaching professionals across 140 countries.

As per EMCC, coaching is…

“A professionally guided process that encourages clients to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a structured, purposeful, and transformational process that helps clients see and test alternative ways to improve competence, decision-making, and enhance the quality of life. Coach and client work together in a partnering relationship on strictly confidential terms. In this relationship, clients are experts on the content and decision-making level; the coach is an expert in professionally guiding the process.”

EMCC’s coaching definition emphasizes on the word supervision. They explain it as an interaction between the coach and the client through reflective dialogue. It is a collaborative approach to the holistic development of the client’s personal and professional life.

Coaching definition by CCE

The Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE) is a non-profit organization providing practitioners and organizations with assessments, business support services, and credentials. CCE credentials nearly 25,000 practitioners globally in a variety of fields.

CCE defines coaching as…

“A career in which professionals have specialized education, training, and experience to assess clients’ needs, collaborate with clients on solutions, and offer strategies that assist individuals and organizations in reaching identified goals.”

The Board Certified Coach (BCC) credential holder has met professional coaching competency standards established by CCE and subject matter experts.


Organizations will have their take on the matter with varying coaching definitions and differences in accreditation processes. However, the core concept of coaching remains the same as a self-reflection process and improvement aided by a trained professional.

If you want to know more about coaching and its specializations, along with other course and certification details, visit the website of Coach Transformation Academy, the only coach training provider accredited with ICF, EMCC, CCE, and SHRM.

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