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Types of Coaching

Let me start by saying that any attempt to "classify" such a multidimensional being as a human is, in my opinion, by definition, doomed to failure. Why am I writing about this? Because the human being is always at the center of any development work. A man with his history, experiences, personality, knowledge, beliefs, emotions, beliefs, individual surroundings, and a combination of all the elements.

In my opinion, it is difficult to divide such a person into separate, non-overlapping "pieces", for example, "work-self" and "life-self" (or private-self). And while conducting any type of coaching, it is impossible to forget about it, because often (if not always) professional life affects private life and vice versa. And, for example, unconscious beliefs may cause specific emotional reactions not only at work.

On the other hand, as people, we are equipped with a given cognitive apparatus (i.e. senses, brain, and mind in particular) and we feel good when we can organize and classify something in order to begin to understand it and recognize it in the reality that surrounds us. So I will show a subjective list of types of coaching taking into account various types of division criteria. I would also like to make you aware of the quality of information available on this topic on the web. Especially for American publications that like "10 ultimate types of coaching revealed" or "15 types of coaching inside out".

The logic that I adopted is the criteria for the division into coaching types and then the consistent assigning of individual development activities to a given coaching type. I will also try to define the understanding of the adopted criteria as precisely as possible.

Thus, the main breakdown criteria applied for the types of coaching will be as follows:

  1. Individual Coaching vs. Team Coaching

  2. Industry Coaching (e.g. Sports Coaching) vs. Business Coaching vs. Life Coaching

  3. Adult Coaching vs. Coaching of Adolescents

Types of Coaching - Individual Coaching

The easiest division criterion to define. It's just a relationship in which the Coach works individually with one person.  

Types of Coaching - Team Coaching

It is a relationship in which a Coach (and sometimes a pair of Coaches) works with a team, or a group. Team coaching can perform various functions depending on the goal chosen for the team. Therefore, in the area of team coaching, we can provide the following types of teamwork.

Team Coaching (Basic)

The team works on a jointly agreed goal or task that addresses the team as a whole or the needs defined by the team leader. The team leader may or may not participate in coaching.  

Examples of working techniques are as follows:

  • Feedback

  • Individual learning through experience, experimenting, comparing

  • Creative thinking sessions (e.g. brainstorming)

  • Exchange of experiences and active drawing conclusions, also from own and other people's mistakes

  • Joint creation of good practice lists

Team Coaching - Individual in the Group

Team members work in a group for themselves and for the group as a whole.  A subject or problem that is universal or one that can be universalized (e.g. a new business project imposed on a team) is analyzed.  Everyone plays the same role in the coaching group, i.e. each participant has equal and full rights to speak.

Examples of activities during such a session are as follows:

  • Answering questions asked by both the Coach and other group participants

  • Providing feedback

  • Coach's attention to ensure that each participant has a voice on each key issue

  • Summarizing, determining conclusions, and recording them

An example of a method often used is Action Learning

Team Coaching - Individual at the background of the Group

In this version, the individual works with his dilemma, topic, or goal. But the group participates as a background while providing simultaneously active feedback.

Thus, the group acts as a "collective coach" for the benefit of the individual and does so, for example, by:

  • Roleplay and participation in practical exercises

  • Active presence

  • Exchange of experiences

The result of coaching against the background of the group is, on the one hand, the development of the individual and gaining a sense of group support, and on the other, "by the way", benefits for all group members (thanks to participation, exchange of experiences and self-reflection).

Types of Coaching - Industry Coaching

I wonder if you know that today's Coaching comes from the world of sport (I wrote about it extensively in the dedicated article, The History of Coaching). The concept was invented by Tim Gallwey and first applied to cooperation with tennis players. Its effectiveness was quickly noticed and the process of developing its models and methods as well as using it in other spheres of life, which continues to this day, began. 

Thus, by industry coaching, we mean focusing on the needs of a specific professional group, e.g. coaching for athletes, lawyers (there is!), teachers, doctors, or e.g. private micro-entrepreneurs.

Types of Coaching - Business Coaching

On the other hand, Sir John Whitmore is considered to be the father of business coaching (I also wrote about him extensively in a dedicated article: Sir John Whitmore - the father of business coaching). For the purposes of our division, we will understand Business Coaching as development support regarding the roles we assume at work.


Therefore, we can distinguish the following types of Business Coaching.

Executive Coaching

This is work with the so-called "top management", directors, board members, presidents, and owners of companies. Here, the support focuses mainly on strategic management as well as psycho-social challenges related to the pressure of the position and its responsibility. It is often working with the "loneliness of the top leader".  

Managerial Coaching or Leadership Coaching

It is a support for managers, managers, and leaders - all those who professionally play a managerial role. The scope of the managerial coaching activity is very wide, as by its nature it covers the full range of activities of the team leader.

First Time People Manager Coaching

The promotion from the role of an independent specialist to a team leader is, according to many, the most difficult change in a professional career. This type of coaching is special support for people who have been promoted to managerial positions for the first time in their lives.  

Career Coaching

Here, in turn, we are talking about support for a person who wants to choose or design his professional career. It is often help provided for people who are "stuck" in their work. Or for those who are looking to become aware of their strengths and talents and, therefore, an appropriate choice of a profession that will bring them a sense of professional fulfillment.

At this point, I cannot resist one digression: people who offer support in writing a CV and help in preparing for a job interview also call themselves Career Coaches. I cannot agree with that.

High Potential or Talent Coaching

In the environment of large corporations, dedicated development programs are more and more often designed and carried out for employees who are considered to be people with high development potential. This applies in particular to management positions at various levels. The set of various development activities also includes individual coaching (or mentoring) offered to such "talents". Its goal is to maximize and accelerate the realization of the potential that, according to the evaluators, a given person has. And the best use of this potential for the benefit of the company. Often, therefore, it will be a mixture of the above-mentioned Leadership Coaching and Career Coaching.

Types of Coaching - Life Coaching

Through Life Coaching, we understand human support in various life roles outside of work. It can also be said that this is life-change coaching because the need for it usually arises in the case of major changes, difficulties, or crises. Examples of such situations may include: a radical change in the workplace (e.g. by moving abroad), moving to a new stage in life due to a new role (e.g. parenting), the need to develop the ability to build satisfying relationships with loved ones (as a result of serious conflicts in the family ).

For the sake of order, I will list the types of Life Coaching that you can meet:

  • Coaching of Relations and Interpersonal Communication

  • Parental Coaching

  • Coaching for Women

  • Coaching for Men

In the Western world, we will also meet with such forms as Finance Coaching, Wellbeing Coaching, Wellness Coaching or Spiritual Coaching, and even Dating Coaching. And before we start such cooperation, I would strongly encourage you to check the experience, credibility, and effectiveness of a given coach.

Types of Coaching - Adolescent Coaching

An adolescent is a person who has not yet reached legal age. Increasingly, we can meet initiatives aimed at supporting teenagers in various practical aspects. Personally, I like this idea very much. And if the education system in the world went this way and prepared young people for life in a practical way - I would be very happy.

The last digression on the types of coaching - how is it with this coaching?

Finally, I want to share one reflection. There is a lot of confusion around Coaching. We can encounter many cases of abuse of this valuable form of supporting human development, as well as many undeserved, extremely negative opinions that completely depreciate or even condemn the role of a Coach.

As the wise saying goes, "Knowledge makes everything simple". So I encourage you to make an effort and familiarize yourself with various sources of information, compare them and draw your own conclusions.

And just as today in the field of social life nothing better than democracy has been invented, so in the field of entrepreneurship, we have nothing better than a free market. The free market gives everyone great opportunities. But not everyone can combine freedom with responsibility.


The history of coaching itself shows how different paths are followed by people who see opportunities for themselves in new products. In addition, our world is changing at an ever-faster pace and is becoming more and more complex. After all, the Internet itself brings the democratization of life, doesn't it? The term "coach" already appears in the field of project management. It seems that, for example, the role of SCRUM Coach has entered the business world for good. And the Agile Project Management methodology has grown so much that there are separate certifications here.

So I have a huge request. Before you judge or quickly label something at the dizzying pace of today's world, first make an effort to gather and verify information, and then understand it. Especially in such an important area as your development and its support.

Types of Coaching-Empowerment Coaching Krakow
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