What Is Coaching and What Are the Different Types Available?

Do you really know what coaching is and about the different types available? This article will tell you all you need to know in an easy-to-understand way.

Brighter Thinking Team

What Is Coaching and What Are the Different Types Available?

Do you really know what coaching is and about the different types available? This article will tell you all you need to know in an easy-to-understand way.

Brighter Thinking Team

So, you’re thinking about having coaching but don’t know exactly what you need or what the different types are available.

At Brighter Thinking I’m often asked about this so I’m going to explain what coaching really is and the different types of coaches that you could use.

What is coaching?

In essence, coaching is a process whereby a trusted experienced person works with you to help achieve your specific goals. These goals could be anything, from changing bad habits in your lifestyle to maximising your success at work.

Most coaches facilitate your self-directed learning, however, can with the client’s permission, suggest training tools and strategies specifically tailored to you to help you achieve your objectives, whatever they may be.

And whilst coaches don’t need to be qualified or even trained to help other people, many have specific skills and experience in particular areas. Others, like Brighter Thinking are professionally and independently accredited and have passed exams and courses to become experts in helping individuals or groups overcome self-sabotaging thinking, personal and work dilemmas and operate at their peak.

A good quality coach will become your trusted and objective sounding board providing support – and challenge – to you on your journey to success.

What types of coaching are available?

There are many types of coaching available, including the following:

Life coaching

Life coaching is focused on helping individuals attain balance and well-being in their lives and gain a sense of fulfilment and purpose. Of course, for many people this has nothing to do with the work they do or their profession. It is more about how they feel about the world around them or the events and circumstances that they perceive as challenges.

Sometimes life coaching has a spiritual or holistic element to it, but not always.

Some life coaches focus on the ‘soul’ of their clients, whilst others look more at factors such as self-worth, confidence, and overcoming fears.

There are numerous different life coaches available with many different – and often unique – approaches, so it is a good idea to spend time looking around for the right one for you before committing to a course of coaching.

Performance coaching

As the name implies, this type of coaching is all about helping individuals operate at their peak and maximise their performance.

This performance could be in the workplace, when on a stage, or even when on a sports field or track.

Elite athletes have performance coaches who work with them on a daily basis to maximise both their physical and mental capabilities, so they are 100% prepared and ready for big events and competitions.

But performance coaching is also used in businesses to help staff continually improve and maximise their potential.

The performance coach encourages and ‘pushes’ their client to achieve more than before, often by providing regular feedback and setting goals.

Business coaching

This coaching is, as the name suggests, focused on helping business owners and leaders make their organisation a success.

A business coach acts as a trusted mentor and advisor and as such, they are more of a consultant, than a coach. They often provide ideas and strategies to help grow the business or work through issues that are holding it back.

A common goal is to enable the business decision-makers to scale the business in a sensible strategic way, often using approaches that the coach has learnt themselves through their own successful business career.

As an external expert, they bring new ways of thinking to the business and rather than being focused on the individuals within the organisation, are focused on the business as a whole and what it can achieve.

Business coaching is often used when the business owner or leaders plan to grow the value of the organisation ready for a sale or to take it public (sell shares in the business).

Career coaching

This coaching is for individuals who want to progress their careers either in their existing organisation or somewhere new.

The career coach supports their client to understand their professional goals and helps them achieve these through tactics such as developing their transferable skills, revising their CV or resume, and helping them negotiate with potential employers.

They are experts in understanding what companies are looking for and having coaching generates a pathway for the client to follow to land the job or position that they aspire to.

Career coaches will support their clients to achieve clarity in what they would like to do next in their career, identify opportunities for progression and help them develop the skills and experience necessary to completely switch careers and start something new.

Executive coaching

Executive coaching is for business leaders and senior decision-makers who want to maximise their potential and gain new perspectives.

Unlike life coaching, performance coaching, business coaching, or career coaching, its goal is to help clients achieve what they want in the workplace whilst supporting them to become the leaders and people they want to be.

This involves learning how to look at things differently and gaining clarity of their personal and professional goals and objectives.

The most effective executive coaches blend ‘real-world’ business experience with robust and accredited coaching experience, and work with their clients on an on-going basis to provide support and guidance throughout their careers.

Different coaching styles

In addition to the different types of coaching available (that also includes group coaching, relationship coaching, and many more), there are also different styles of coaching, particularly when working with a team.

Some coaches adopt a holistic approach, which is sometimes known as ‘laissez-faire’ coaching. This involves creating a comfortable and safe environment for team members to work through issues and challenges themselves, rather than being directed or guided by a singular figure (the coach).

Others choose an autocratic style which is not coaching. A consultant sets objectives and tasks without taking onboard feedback or the personal circumstances of the team members. This very directed style can cause resentment, however, can work for those who value discipline and structure.

Other coaches use a democratic style of coaching when working with a team that involves open dialogue and a sense of collaboration.


The field of coaching is always evolving, with different types and styles emerging as more people look for external support to help them achieve their goals and objectives.

When you come to hiring a coach, make sure you choose one that you connect with, is professionally accredited and has the skills and experience to help you achieve the changes you want to make.

Having coaching should be a sound investment in your future so it’s vital you partner with the right coach.