Foundational Principles of Coaching

by | Jul 15, 2019 | Coaching | 0 comments

Coaching and mentoring are terms that are often thrown together as if they mean the same thing. Of course, they are very different disciplines. A person is mentoring when they’re sharing their own experience. In coaching, sharing our experience is very much a last resort.

“The answer is always within the individual.” – Helmut Herder

In coaching, the preference is to skillfully explore through intelligent open and curious questions. This will lead to many options for a solution that can be generated from the participant. I find that people are far more likely to follow through on answers and solutions they have established. In fact, within the very act of finding the answers within themself, the participant becomes more resourceful in the future. They are less reliant upon external help, as a result, and are more confident in their inner ability to resolve whatever issues they may face.

At their discretion, and only with the participant’s permission, coaches may offer context by sharing their own experience, if it will serve the client in moving toward what it they’re intending to achieve.

Coaching vs. Counseling and Therapy

Coaching is primarily proactive, while counseling is generally more reactive. Unless qualified in counseling or other psychological therapies, coaching professionals must know the limits of their  expertise. If I sense that a participant would be better served by counseling or therapy, I usuallydisengage very sensitively. The coach should never recommend any specific therapist unless qualified to do so.

Coaching vs. Teaching, Facilitating or Training

Whenever someone shares content whether in the context of teaching, facilitating or training, they are not coaching. Likewise, guiding someone through a linear and static personal growth curriculum is not coaching it is facilitating. The coaching process is an open process, able to flex and go wherever the conciseness of the individual takes it in the pursuit of helping that individual move forwards to the success they intend for their lives. In coaching, a question is only relevant in the moment, and its value and impact cannot be deciphered until it’s been asked.

Being a Coach vs. a Good Friend

A friend may not be willing to advice challenge your assumptions or beliefs because they fear upsetting or alienating you. A friend is also not a coach, so they’re more likely to advice than help you seek awareness within yourself. There’s a risk of the advice not being the most productive either.

Whatever is shared with a coach should remain confidential, aside from any gross infringements of the law. Remember, your coach should be 100% committed to the success of you, the participant. They should not judge whether a decision is right or wrong. Your coach is there to support you by observing the consequence your actions and decisions. Together you will learn how to modify your approach in the future to be in a better position to achieve the goals in your personal life or career.


Helmut Services is led by Helmut Herder, a professional leadership coach, business mentor and mastermind facilitator in Leesburg, VA. With over 30 years of corporate management experience, Helmut Herder consults with CEO’s, executives and business owners to help them achieve their goals and needs in life. A certified John Maxwell team member, Helmut Services offers proven methodologies and effective coaching techniques for business leaders throughout the U.S.


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