The Coaching Process

BridgeOnce you have chosen a good coach click here it is important to understand more about the ‘Coaching Process’. Typically, the whole process of coaching will slowly “unfold” in a step by step manner as follow:

  1. The coach and the person being coached will reflect on the current situation and discuss where the person wants to go or do in the future.
  2. They will consider the key issues and gather information in formal and informal ways. If the person being coached is on a personal development journey then they may use diagnostic tools like 360-degree feedback assessments.
  3. They collate the information (or feedback data) and the coach offers a summary to the person being coached (adding his or her own perspective).
  4. The person being coach sets personal/team/organisation goals for future change or adjustment
  5. The coach and the person being coached work together towards clearly identified targets.
  6. The process continues until the targets have been substantially achieved. At this point the relationship may end or it may be decided that the cycle is worthy of repeating with new reflection and goal setting.

There could, of course, be more or less steps than this, but in essence the vast majority of processes will cover very similar ground.

In broad terms, the 6-stage process above can be split into 2 halves. The first 3 stages involve what we call “input-based coaching”, while the last 3 stages involve what we call “output-based coaching”.

Input-based coaching, as the name suggests, is focused on reflection and primarily concerned with gathering and processing feedback. Apart from the coach, this will come from the individual being coached, their leader, colleagues within the team/organisation, and, in some cases, from the people reporting to the person being coached. The simple goal here is to gather a considerable amount of data or opinion about the person who is receiving the coaching so as to ensure that there is a good understanding about strengths, development needs, positive and negative behaviours and other factors which may affect the success of their role or journey into the future.

 Output-based coaching, once again as the name suggests, is primarily concerned with what the individual being coached actually does or achieves in tangible terms. This may be to affect some level of personal change (which may be known only to the individual and his or her coach). However, if it is to be classified as “output-based”, the change should be visible to others and/or be observable in measurable ways.

The reason for looking at these two categories is to make the point that modern coaching tends to be extremely biased towards an input biased approach. The amount of effort and time invested in input-based coaching is often 2-3 times greater than outcome-based coaching and we are therefore wise to question whether or not this is appropriate.

Call to Action: There is no doubt that both “input-based” and “output-based” coaching all play a valuable role in helping people at all levels to gain helpful insights and to increase their overall contribution or performance. However, in most coaching processes the balance of effort (in time and resources) has been skewed to the “input” side of things and so it is wise to keep a balanced approach.

 Colin Noyes

 Colin is the Director of ResourceZone International. He has thirty years of ministry experience as a pastor, college lecturer and consultant/coach to consultants, denominational leaders and local church pastors. He can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Colin Noyes

Colin Noyes is a Brisbane (Australia) based coach and consultant with extensive experience in the areas of organisational health and growth, change management, leadership development, recruiting/staff development and coaching. Read more

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