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The Top 6 Coaching Philosophies With Examples

Do you want to get into the world of coaching? Explore our curated list of the top 6 coaching philosophies, complete with engaging examples. From the Grow Model to Mindset Coaching, take a journey with Blinkist that could change your coaching perspective.
by Chris Allmer | Nov 5 2023

When it comes to coaching, everyone brings their own personality to the table. If you’re considering becoming a coach – be it in business, life, or sports – it’s crucial for you to develop your own unique coaching philosophy and techniques.

We at Blinkist have curated a list of the most current coaching styles, so you can sift through them and gather all the insights needed to craft your own coaching approach. 

Additionally, we’ve provided some coaching philosophy examples for your reference. Let’s take a look.

What is a Coaching Philosophy?

A coaching philosophy shows a coach’s core values, beliefs, and guiding practices. It describes how the coach works with clients or athletes and what they think are the best ways to encourage growth, learning, and performance.

So, why is having a coaching philosophy such a big deal?

  1. Clear Direction: A coaching philosophy gives both the coach and the client a clear sense of direction. You know where you’re going, and there won’t be many surprises.
  2. Making Choices: When faced with tough decisions, a coach can lean on their philosophy and best coaching practices to figure out what’s best.
  3. Happy Clients: Clients tend to be happier and more motivated when they understand and resonate with a coach’s philosophy. According to a study in the field of sports, athletes who felt their coaches stuck to their stated philosophy were more dedicated and motivated.
  4. Growth for Coaches: Reflecting on and establishing their philosophy also helps coaches grow.

Having a good coaching strategy is important in any field, such as sports, personal development, business, or any other area. It not only sets the tone for the coaching/client relationship but also ensures a thorough, principle-driven approach to coaching.

If you’re already a coach, the name Michael Bungay Stanier might sound familiar. Famous not just as a star coach but as an influential figure in the field of coaching, his insights have impacted many.

Exclusively for Blinkist, Michael curated the Guide “Unlock Your Greatness” about how to reclaim your ambition, discover the basics of coaching, and get practical advice on being the best coach for your mentee or team. 

6 Coaching Philosophy Examples

1. Goal-Oriented Coaching: The GROW Model

The Grow Model is like using a roadmap. You decide where you want to go, see where you currently are, figure out different routes to get there, and then choose the best path.

Example 1

Imagine you’re teaching someone to bake. First, you’d set a goal like “bake a chocolate cake”, understand what ingredients and tools are available, explore different recipes, and finally, pick one and start baking.

Example 2: 

A student struggling with time management could use the GROW model to set specific goals for study time, evaluate their current schedule, explore new study techniques, and finally implement a structured timetable.

Example 3: 

An executive wishing to improve public speaking might set a goal to deliver three successful presentations within six months, assess current speaking skills, consider joining a speaking club, and then lay out a plan for regular practice and feedback.

In the Blinkist summary “Coaching for Performance, Sir John Whitmore offers an insightful exploration into the principles and practices of coaching and leadership. Recognized as the foundational text that catalyzed the business coaching industry, this book is especially renowned for its contributions to the GROW model. 

2. The Player-Centric Philosophy

This coaching approach is about truly getting to know someone, caring about their feelings, and making decisions that are best for them.

Example 1

Think of a favorite teacher who not only taught lessons but also listened to your personal stories and gave advice about life.

Example 2:

A music teacher who takes the time to understand a student’s favorite genres and tailors lessons around them, ensuring the student remains passionate.

Example 3: 

A manager who understands an employee’s family commitments and offers flexible working hours, ensuring the employee feels valued and remains productive.

3. The Process-Driven Approach

It’s about enjoying the journey, not just the destination. The process-driven strategy is like going on a road trip where you stop to enjoy the scenic views, not just rush to reach the end.

Example 1

Rather than just focusing on winning a game, it’s about appreciating the training, teamwork, and small improvements made along the way.

Example 2: 

A writer being coached might be guided to focus on honing their writing routine and habits, rather than just the number of words they produce.

Example 3: 

A chef in training would be encouraged to master basic techniques with precision, rather than rushing to complete complex dishes.

Blinkist’s keynotes to “Lead Like a Coach” by Karen Morley sheds light on the transformative power of adopting a coaching model in leadership. Her insights tie closely with the player-centric philosophy, reinforcing the belief in understanding and empowering team members.

4. Holistic Well-Being Philosophy

This is about looking at the whole picture. Not just how someone is performing in their sport or job, but also how they’re feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Example 1

It’s like a fitness trainer who not only guides workouts but also gives advice on diet, sleep, and mental relaxation techniques.

Example 2: 

A yoga instructor emphasizing the importance of mental peace and diet, in addition to physical postures.

Example 3: 

A corporate mentor focuses on an employee’s work-life balance, stress levels, and personal passions, alongside their job performance.

5. Growth Mindset Coaching

It’s the belief that skills can be developed through hard work. Challenges aren’t setbacks; they’re opportunities to learn and grow.

Example 1

Imagine a music teacher who encourages a student to keep trying a difficult piece, believing that with practice, they’ll eventually master it.

Example 2: 

A math tutor emphasizing the value of mistakes in learning encourages a student to try challenging problems without fear of getting them wrong.

Example 3: 

An art teacher praises a student’s unique style and encourages experimentation rather than criticizing deviations from the norm.

6. Collaborative Coaching

Think of this as a partnership. It requires coordination and mutual respect, where both the coach and the individual have a say.

Example 1

Instead of just telling someone what to do, it’s about discussing, brainstorming, and deciding together the best course of action.

Example 2: 

A fitness trainer co-creates a workout regime with a client, ensuring it aligns with the client’s personal preferences and goals.

Example 3: 

A business mentor brainstorms solutions with a young entrepreneur rather than just prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach.

The Blink “Co-Active Coaching” explains the collaborative nature of coaching, where the relationship between the coach and client is built on mutual respect and co-creation of solutions.

In the world of coaching, your unique perspective and approach can make all the difference. As you’ve explored various coaching philosophies, hopefully you’ve found some inspiration and are ready to start your journey as a coach.

Remember, coaching is an art as much as it is a science, and tailoring your methods to suit both you and those you coach can make the journey truly transformative.

And if you’re looking for a great source of wisdom on coaching best practices, “This Is Coaching”, curated by Blinkist, is a collection of 10 established coaching books showing you the nuances and depths of effective coaching philosophy examples.

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