NMK – Political Coaching and Communication - What Exactly is Coaching?

What Exactly is Coaching?

“Coaching has become one of those catch-all phrases like strategy, quality, or process. Because of its popularity, coaching has sometimes been misused.”

To explicitly 'translate' the quote above, some coachees are sometimes more excited about the ‘luxury’ of being coached rather than being excited about changing.

Truly, Ulrich (2008) mentioned that one executive ‘bragged’ about having a “celebrity coach” after only one hour of his first session. Yet, once it was time to accept changes that he had to make in order to be more effective, “he really did not care much, just as long as the coach was recognized as a coaching icon”! With that being mentioned, it is worthy of note that the purpose of Dave Ulrich's "Coaching for Results" was to aid practitioners better understand their approach to this practice. Add to that, the author needed to help coachees "have a sense of options in selecting a coach."

The writer suggests that the only way to overcome the misuse of coaching is by shifting from platitudes to greater professionalism. This happens by defining clearly the coaching outcomes, identifying specific behaviors and realizing a strategy which, when realized, will help in crafting “an executive’s leadership brand, or identity that combines both personal behaviors and outcomes.”

The author considers that coaching is:

  • A giving and receiving process

In fact, “coaching does not mean doing, but helping get things done”; just like in sports, although coaches do not personally play the game, they help athletes perform better.

  • Not about the coach.

Instead, the coach must simply be the facilitator not the owner of change.

  • Is both a learned art from experience and a disciplined science from education.
  • Is ultimately a relationship.

This process is about sharing thoughts and ideas that can help influence and changer the other, transferring knowledge and trust, as well as building personal bonds with the other.

  • Probe through questions that require self-reflection.

Asking the right questions help executives see the impact of their behavior on others. This will consequently, help him/her change and improve.


Ulrich, D. (2008). Coaching for results. Business Strategy Series, 9(3), 104-114. Retrieved from https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/17515630810873320/full/html

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NMK – Political Coaching and Communication

NMK – Political Coaching and Communication - What Exactly is Coaching?