What is coaching?

There are many different types and definitions of coaching. In general, it is a collaborative endeavour between a coach and an individual (or group) to facilitate the attainment of the coachee’s goals in the coachee’s context. The purpose of this endeavour is to enhance skills, performance and capability.

The University engages a combination of developmental, performance coaching (for the individual), team coaching, transitional coaching and onboarding coaching.

Developmental coaching
Performance coaching
Team coaching
Transitional coaching
Onboarding coaching
What coaching is not
What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

Developmental coaching

Coaching aimed at enhancing a coachee’s ability to meet current and future challenges more effectively via the development of increasingly complex understanding of the self, others and the systems in which the coachee is involved. This is sometimes called transformational coaching.

Performance coaching

Coaching that is aimed at improving the coachee’s ability to achieve work-related goals. It is not so much interested in the acquisition or establishment of skills as it is in assisting the coachee to use established skills more effectively.

Performance coaching typically involves the articulation of desired levels of performance and pathways to achieve those goals. It may also involve the identification of current and potential cognitive,
behavioural and environmental blocks to performance. Coaches engaged in performance coaching can be expected to have knowledge and skills associated with goal-setting, motivation and change management.

Team Coaching

In team coaching the coaching client is the whole team as a system rather than one person. In team coaching sessions, the team works on group goals. The focus of the team coaching process is usually on
improving the working connections between team members while they strive to achieve their objectives, rather than focusing on developing people individually.

Transitional coaching

This is specifically to help a staff member transition from one role to another. Transitional coaching supports individuals to achieve quick effectiveness and success in a new role. It helps to make clear the purpose and most immediate needs of a new role. and develop strategies for rapid transition. Transitions may be a change in job, a promotion, a relocation or a return to work.

Onboarding Coaching

The organisational culture can make or break a new employee especially at a senior level where the decisions they are taking may not be well received.

This coaching approach increases the chances of a staff member’s success and gets them up to speed and productive as quickly as possible. An onboarding coach primarily helps a new staff member understand the new culture, identify potential challenges, and assists in identifying any changes which need to be made in their leadership style to be effective in the new role and environment. An on-boarding coach who has an inside awareness of the University, can offer clarity to the new employee.

Source: Coaching in Organisations Handbook, Standards Australia 2011

What coaching is not

Coaching is not therapy or counselling. Therapy tends to focus on the past and often delves into the root cause of the problem, and counselling is more focused on personal life matters and the psychological well being of a person only. Coaching on the other hand, is more focused on the future and creating solutions and sits within a certain context (such as work, your career or the task at hand).

What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

Mentoring is generally provided by someone who is a subject matter expert in a specific discipline or industry. In the University context, for example, this may involve an early career researcher (level B) being mentored by a professor in their field. Coaching relies on the coachee being prompted by the coach to develop their own solutions. It focuses on skill and capability, not necessarily knowledge (like mentoring does).