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“I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.”
-Martha Washington
New Definition For Coaching PDF Print E-mail

Most of the definitions that I have seen, including Coachville’s are several sentences if not paragraphs long.   Dave Buck in the Fall of 2004 set out to create a new, clear, concise, and provocative definition for coaching that reinvents our understanding of what a coach is. 

Coaching is inspiring an individual or a team to produce a desired result; through personalized teaching, expanding awareness, and designing environments.

Myth number One of Dave Buck’s “10 Myths About Coaching” series is that Coaches don’t know how to market themselves.   Dave remarks that at the core of the issue is not that that they don’t know how to market, which may also be true, but rather it is the fact that the industry and therefore coaches do not truly know what coaching is.   As an industry, we don’t have a clear and concise definition of what coaching is. 

I really like this definition.  I think it truly speaks to what masterful coaching is about.  I feel where this definition really excels is in the trilogy of method.  1)Personalized Teaching 2)Expanding Awareness, and 3)Designing Environments.   It is these three elements together that distinguish us from every other “similar” profession who use one or two of these elements but not all three simultaneous and great coaches do.

I have had several people comment and express curiosity about different aspects of the definition that challenged them. 

#1 was with the word “inspire” –I want you to think about your favorite coach, what makes you want to work with them.  Do they inspire you?  This definition sets the bar higher for everyone.  What if we as coaches really do inspire our clients – what then is possible?

#2 was with the concept of “personalized teaching” – This is at the core what I personally think coaching is about.  Julio Olalla speaks of coaching as being in the domain of learning.

#3 “designing environments”  - If you really want to make changes last and have the desired results we need to look at, enhance, refine, and design the environments in which the change is occurring everything from the physical dimension to the emotional environments.  If you don’t effect a change in the environment the likelihood of regression is great.

To read more and to see Dave’s comments about the elements go to


Try applying this definition to your coaching today.  What would change if you started coaching from this definition?

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