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What is coaching?

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the generally agreed characteristics of coaching in organisations state coaching is essentially:

  • a non-directive form of development
  • focuses on improving performance and developing individuals’ skills
  • emphasises performance at work although personal issues may be discussed
  • activities have both organisational and individual goals
  • provides people with feedback on both their strengths and their weaknesses

Coaching is used for a variety of purposes. Results from the CIPD 2010 survey, indicate that 40% of organisations use coaching to aid performance management and 23% of organisations identified leadership development as its main purpose.

The survey also identified other uses for coaching:


  • Used for development and improving poor performance
  • Part of talent and leadership development
  • Specific professional development


  • Where problems arise
  • To develop performance at all levels
  • Part of performance management support staff development
  • To train the sales team


  • To support academic staff during their probationary period
  • For transition to senior roles
  • To prepare chief officers and graduate trainees