Today, the list of categories that coaching aligns with is in abundance. Genres range from professional genres such as performance, business, and leadership through to arguably more personal contexts such as life, sex and relationship coaching. Each one of these categories is distinct in their own right but all will have contributions from different disciplines and areas of knowledge such as management, education, social sciences, philosophy and psychology.
These categories may then be further sub-categorised in ways such as directive or non-directive coaching, client specific, process oriented or ultimate purpose objectivity. The taxonomy of coaching can act as guidance and assist people in selecting the ideal methodology for their requirement. Conversely, it can also serve as a hindrance to those seeking guidance by overcomplicating the external outlook of coaching practices.
The differences in each coaching methodology range from interpretation of the word coaching through to the target clientele. The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) for instance state that business coaching is a practical leadership and management discipline that allows managers to unleash potential (ILM, 2016). This is a stark difference to the Sports Coach UK statement that coaching enhances health and well being, promotes fair play and builds social cohesion and self esteem (SCUK, 2016). Each definition is specific to the category that it represents and coaching will have different meanings to those involved with either organisation.
Sir John Whitmore states, “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. This sentence captures the essence of what coaching means to me. Coaching can be considered the key that will unlock this potential. The etymological study of the word “key” in this context is also noteworthy. Such synonyms as critical, strategic and central can add value when describing the essential role that coaching can play in everyday life, business and sports.
Coaching is a culture; one that is in its infancy and at the age of an emerging discipline which is evolving continuously. The core fundamentals of coaching allow for it to grow and change as the world around it does, and to cite Carl Jung; “we cannot change anything until we accept it”.