What is coaching and why do we need it?

I bumped into an old colleague at the supermarket last week, years had passed, and a lot had happened since we saw each other last, naturally we talked about “what are you doing now?”. I explained that I had retrained and earned an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology in 2020. During our conversation, she asked me a few questions about coaching. This inspired me to write today’s post. People often ask me why we need coaching. So, what exactly is coaching?

Whitmore (2009) defined coaching as “Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance” (p.10).  Grant (2008) describes “Coaching is, thus, collaborative, individualised, solution-focused, results orientated, systematic and stretching; it fosters self-directed learning” (p.25). In essence, coaches facilitate thinking and learning, as they are future oriented, and solution focused.

Basically, there is a collaboration between the coach and the client in which one seeks ways to reach a goal. The coach is the facilitator while the client is the expert – he/she is in the best position to know and understand their situation and life and what is needed to achieve their goal.

What is the positive psychology element?

Positive psychology is defined as “…the scientific study of what goes right in life, from birth to death and all the steps in between” (Peterson, 2006, p.4). 

It is common to find that in positive psychology we emphasise on wellbeing, flourishing, strengths, flow and how we can achieve our best selves and how we can live a fulfilling life. Coaches are interested in their clients’ wellbeing and optimal functioning. Therefore, bringing coaching and positive psychology together is natural since it’s my interest to help my clients flourish.

So, what does this mean?

Essentially, a coaching session is a way of helping a person to find their own way to the goal they are trying to reach. Coaching sessions get people to become more aware of themselves and to commit to what needs to be done to succeed. The coach will benefit a person who has a desire to change and a commitment to “do the work.”

So – how is it done?

Coaches aim to help clients learn about themselves. It is learning about ourselves and asking the questions we need to ask to reach our goals. Remember, no change can happen until you act. When this is the case, having a coach can provide outstanding support.

Why and when do we need coaching?

Despite your job and/or personal life being fulfilling, you strive to improve, become better, and build on the strengths you already have.

You are facing a change, maybe a new challenge at work, and need someone who believes in you and can help you navigate the challenge.

Meaning is one of the elements in wellbeing theory. You have a desire to find more meaning in your life. Coaching can help you understand what you value and help you work towards the things that give you meaning.

We might be “blind” to where we block ourselves, the coach can help us open our eyes. As a coach, I am attending coaching sessions with a “coach for the coach”! I am committed to learning and getting better at my job. Coaching helps me grow, keeps me on my toes and aware.

Are you tempted to try a coaching session?

Do you have a goal you want to achieve?

Do you want to explore your situation?

Do you want to thrive in life and at work?

Do you want to go from the feeling of blah to flourishing?

Do you want to improve your wellbeing at work?

Then book a session with me!



Grant, A. M. (2008). Past, present and future – The evolution of professional coaching and coaching psychology. In S. Palmer & A. Whybrow (Eds.), Handbook of Coaching Psychology – A guide for practitioners (1st ed., pp. 23–39). London and New York: Routledge.

Peterson, C. (2006). A Primer in Positive Psychology (1st ed.). New York: Oxford University press.

Whitmore, J. (2009). Coaching for Performance (4th ed.). London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.



By Jannie Stricker / 17.06.2021