What is coaching?

"Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” 
John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance

✓   About you in your role as an elected member

✓   Focused with clear goals which you set

✓   Trusted and confidential

✓   Headspace and time to reflect, think and be heard

✓   Scheduled - usually 2 hours at a time that suits you

✓   About impact and performance improvement

What it’s not:


Mentoring - advice based on personal experience (“Here’s what I did when...”)

Informal (i.e. a quick call or email for advice)

Chatting without a focus

A substitute for other training (i.e. media interview training)

Coaching is a 1-1 process with a qualified and skilled coach who will support you to work through live issues and towards goals with a focus on learning from your actions. The coach will take a non-directive approach by asking questions and inquiring, rather than telling and providing answers.

Coaching should not be confused with mentoring or counselling/therapy. Though there can be some similarities to all three, each has a distinct purpose and practice that distinguish themselves from the others (

Coaching will often lead to the identification of further training and development needed to realise a goal and provide the catalyst for undertaking that development. It is not on its own a substitute for undertaking further development opportunities to meet a development need. The information you provide in the Coaching Request Form will help us determine whether coaching is an appropriate intervention.

The following article provides further information on what coaching is and isn’t:

David Barr - Project Manager, Organisational Development