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What is Business Coaching?

Definition of Business Coaching

Happy motivated employees high five

There are numerous variations of the term coaching and indeed business coaching and yes, they're pretty much alike. Here at the BCF Group, we like to keep things as succinct as possible rather than complicating everything or unnecessarily reinventing the wheel.

Keeping that in mind, this is the definition we've chosen to answer the question "What is business coaching?":

"A skilled business conversation that enables the person being coached, to come up with their own options to move forward on a business challenge with high commitment."

That said, coaching is a mechanism/technique of transitioning someone from their present state to their desired state (P»D).

However you get from P»D, business coaching can bring unparalleled results in terms of ROI. Engaging a business coach will allow you to explore all possible options and boundaries from an independent and objective view point where bureaucracy and politics don't exist. A good coach will ask you the right questions and free your mind of obstructions so you create the winning formula you need.

Business coaching is therefore different to conventional training. It does not seek to teach a person knowledge and information about a particular topic or subject area, but instead aims to work with them using effective discussions to come up with suitable action plans for changing their current situation, with regards to developing and advancing their abilities, motivation, or whatever areas there is a need for improvement in.


The Different Types of Business Coaching

Adding further to the complication of trying to define business coaching is the fact that the coaching itself can take different forms. The processes are typically very similar for all, but sessions are tailored to specific objectives and the individual being coached.


Executive Coaching
A smiling corporate executive

Corporate executives, company directors and senior managers all have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. They have to make big decisions that can ultimately make or break the company. Quite often, these decisions can be difficult and unpleasant, such as having to lay off a large number of employees in order to reduce costs.

Whilst there may be an unfair perception of corporate executives as uncaring, cold-hearted individuals who are quite happy to make decisions in the boardroom and pocket exorbitant salaries, the reality is that many do actually care about their workers and hate having to take such decisions.

A good executive coach will understand that high salaries do not take away feelings, despite what the public may think, and that the pressure and psychological impact of having to make such decisions will weigh heavily on most executives. They will also understand the demands that come with being at the helm of a large company, and the stresses that exist in having to keep such a large organisation on track and on course for a prosperous future.


Life Coaching
Happy woman enjoying life

Instead of focusing on business issues, life coaching sessions deal with an individual's personal goals and objectives. These can include such things as earning more money, having positive relationships, losing weight etc.

It is surprising how a lot of coaches and coaching providers separate life coaching into a separate item which is performed by different coaches, and for some reason is kept completely distinct from business coaching.

In the examples above, all three of those personal aspirations can have a strong impact upon your work performance too:

  • Earning more money would come about as a consequence of getting a raise or being promoted, both of which are linked to job performance.
  • Having positive relationships with others would improve your teamworking and communication skills. It may make you more assertive and confident, which could lead to a new managerial role.
  • Losing weight may seem like a purely personal goal which would have no impact on what you do at work. However, if it makes you happy and improves your mood, you will probably be far more productive than before. It may also give you more belief that you can achieve difficult goals, which will help you as you set and pursue other objectives to achieve at work.

Performance Coaching
A performance coaching session

Performance coaching is the most similar to business coaching, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Whilst the term business coaching can be somewhat vague and all-encompassing, performance coaching deals specifically with a person’s performance at work. It aims to get them to perform at their peak level, realising their full potential to drive the business forward.

Underperformance is a big headache for businesses. For those employees on a fixed salary, the amount they receive will be the same whatever their performance and output level... at least in the short term until management has had enough! With costs the same, owners and managers are eager to get their workers operating at the top end of the performance ability chart. This underperformance and lack of effort can also spread to others in the business, dragging down the whole team as those around them begin to do the same as them, particularly if they are seen as able to get away with it.

This is just one reason why managers are so willing to invest in coaching for their employees, as it can provide a tremendous return on investment, especially over the long term.


What Business Coaching is Not

Along with looking at what business coaching is, it is also useful to learn what business coaching is not.


Training. Business coaching is very different to a training course. Trainers typically stand at the front of a classroom and impart their knowledge and wisdom. Whilst there will be some back-and-forth interaction, for the most part it is the trainer talking and the students sat listening to the information being taught. The session is entirely led by the trainer.

With business coaching, the coach acts more as a guide, and encourages the person being coached to do most of the talking. Rather than providing that person with answers, the coach will work with the individual in identifying issues, and steer them into coming up with solutions and the steps to take in order to overcome them.


Counselling. Many of the issues that come up during a coaching session can be tough and sometimes distressing. But whereas counselling aims to deal with and reconcile problems from the past, business coaching usually tries to leave the past in the past and focus solely on future targets and ambitions.

Everyone is affected and influenced by past experiences, and it is somewhat naïve of many coaching providers to try and separate the past and the future so neatly and distinctly (Related External Page: The Difference Between Coaching and Therapy is Greatly Overstated). But counselling and business coaching are different in their primary focus of how they aim to help a person with their life.


A Source of Quick and Easy Answers. Anyone who goes into a series of coaching sessions looking for quick and easy answers to all of their issues will be sadly disappointed.

Not only do coaches not provide all of the answers, but they will probably not know the answers. This may sound extremely strange, and it would be if they were there to provide training (which you already know they're not if you've read above!), but the fact is nobody knows you or your specific situations anything like as well as you do. The coach can guide and ask the right questions, but it will be up to you to come up with solutions and practical steps to take. They are there to assist you in concentrating on what is important and the most effective way to achieve these goals.



Next Step

Now that you have read about what business coaching is and what it is not, why not click on one of the links below to see how we at The BCF Group can assist you with your business coaching requirements?



Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is business coaching for senior executives within an organisation. Often these people have very little available time and have to fit their business coaching sessions in between important meetings and other work commitments.

Executives and senior managers typically have great responsibilities on their shoulders as they make significant decisions which can affect the fate of the entire company.

Click Here for Executive Coaching


Become a Business Coach

Have you ever considered becoming a business coach? Have you been given the task by your manager of providing business coaching to members of your workforce? If so, then achieving a qualification like the ILM Level 5 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring will give the prospective coach the information they need to become an effective business coach of others, and as such be instrumental in the development of their colleagues for the benefit of the company. For more information about the ILM Level 5 Coaching Certificate please click on the button below.

View ILM Level 5 Coaching Qualification


Coaching for You

Along with providing courses which help you to develop the skills to become a successful business coach, here at the BCF Group we also have experienced business coaches who provide coaching to individuals from a great variety of industries and with different levels of responsibility.

Business coaching is highly personalised, and every individual will have different needs, requirements and workplace issues. To get in touch, please call us on 0844 800 3295 or send us an online contact form by clicking on the button below.

Click Here to Contact Us


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Related Courses

Please see below for some business coaching courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring

ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring

The ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring are designed for senior leaders/managers (or those working in a training and development role) who are regularly coaching or mentoring at a senior level.

It is for those executive coaches who wish to accredit, validate or enhance their skills with an internationally-recognised executive coaching qualification.

Click Here for More Information


ILM Level 5 Qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring

ILM Level 5 Qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring

Based on our extensive work and experience with leaders, both in the private and public sectors, this ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring programme has been designed to develop the capability of leaders to positively impact the performance of individuals and teams.

This programme has been created to sharpen a leader's skills - enabling them to balance control, commitment and empowerment through productive conversations with individuals and teams.

Click Here for More Information


Master Coaching Diploma

Master Coaching Diploma from the BCF Group

This course enables participants to develop their understanding of executive coaching and mentoring, to explore the underpinning psychological theories of coaching and to practise and apply their skills within a non-directive, non-judgemental framework.

At the BCF Group, we use a powerful blend of coaching concepts and practical skills-based development to support the enhancement of executive coaching and leadership mentoring skills in an organisation.

Click Here for More Information


Advanced Coaching Certificate

Advanced Coaching Certificate from the BCF Group

Based on our extensive work and experience with leaders, both in the private and public sectors; this course has been designed to develop the capability of leaders to positively impact the performance of individuals and teams. We are experts at unlocking peak performance.

Coaching and mentoring improves relationships, performance and engagement. This programme has been created to sharpen a leader's skills - enabling them to balance control, commitment and empowerment through productive conversations with individuals and teams.

Click Here for More Information


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