Introduction to Coaching

Characteristics of a Coaching Relationship

  • Co-Partnership Exists Between the Coach and the Client.
  • Client is equal with the coach.
  • Coach comes alongside the client with an attitude of serving the client’s needs and agenda.
  • Coach sees the client as the expert for his or her own life.
  • Coach and client are involved in making the coaching relationship successful.
  • The coaching relationship “exists to serve the client.”3
  • Focus is on meeting the client’s needs.

Personal Growth and Change Is Affirmed

  • Warm, safe, and supportive environment created.
  • Coach expresses natural affirmation, support, and encouragement.
  • Coach has genuine and sincere concern for the client’s well-being.
  • Coach gives respect, shows interest, and expresses belief in and for the client’s goals and future dreams.
  • Coach uses direct communication and feedback for the greatest positive impact on the client.
  • Truth and honesty are expected.

Responsibility and Stewardship Belong to the Client

  • Coach trusts the client to be responsible.
  • Client owns the goals and action steps created.
  • Client takes responsibility to follow through for his own decisions or action steps.

Coach Believes the Best About the Client

  • Coach expresses genuine belief in the client.
  • Coach demonstrates acceptance and non-judgmental stance toward the client.
  • Coach gives room to fail.

Intentional Focus Is on the Client’s Distinct Design

  • Client’s strengths are championed.
  • Client’s uniqueness is respected.
  • Client’s self-awareness is encouraged.

Exploration and Discovery are Encouraged Through Active Listening and Power Questions

  • Coaching relationship provides a safe environment for exploration and discovery of new possibilities and avenues.
  • Coach supports and affirms new goals and behaviors.
  • Coach helps the client design actions.

Integrity, Authenticity, and Sincerity Are Marks of the Coaching Relationship

  • Coach demonstrates integrity, authenticity, and sincerity.
  • Coach keeps commitments.
  • Trust is a central standard of the relationship.


Laura Whitworth, Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey-House, and Phillip Sandahl, Co-Active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life 2nd Ed. (Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black, 2007), 16.