Different Styles of Coaching

Democratic coaching

Democratic coaching invites the client to participate in the coaching process by encouraging them to adopt a ‘self-coaching’ attitude. The coach’s role in the democratic approach is to outline the overall objectives but allow the client to suggest how he or she might reach them. Although a democratic coach might make the final decisions, he or she will base these decisions on the client’s own opinions and feelings. The democratic coaching style encourages:

  • introspection
  • a sense of accountability
  • a sense of self-control
  • a sense of freedom
  • good decision-making skills that can be applied to everyday life

There are several areas that democratic coaching can be useful for. Career coaching for example often benefits from this approach as it encourages the client to take control of their career path. Finance coachingis another examples as it prompts the client to have a sense of accountability. Coaches working on personal development may also use the democratic coaching style to help clients develop decision-making skills.  


Holistic coaching

Holistic coaching looks at the client as a whole. This approach rests on the basis that to address one issue, all issues surrounding it or connected to it in any way must also be addressed. This is because, according to holistic coaching theory, everything rests in a web of interconnectedness, i.e. everything has a cause and everything has an effect. When we change one aspect of our lives, all others invariably shift too. Life coaches specializing in the holistic coaching style often look at their clients’ whole lives – from their physical fitness, to the state of their social lives in order to help them achieve a peaceful equilibrium. The holistic coaching style encourages:

  • better understanding of how our actions affect the world
  • greater sense of purpose
  • a healthier body
  • a calmer disposition
  • greater satisfaction from the small things in life

This approach is especially beneficial when addressing work/life balance. This is because it looks at all elements of the client’s life, helping them find ways to maintain balance. Holistic coaching is often used when addressing health and stress too. As well as investigating physical changes the client can make to improve health, a holistic coach will also look at lifestyle factors, relationships and stress levels to see how these may be affecting their health. 


Vision coaching

Vision coaching is a coaching style with an emphasis on future-thinking. It rests on the basis that the power of thought can be harnessed to shape the future. According to vision coaching theory, the more we focus our minds on a vision of an outcome we desire, the more likely it is that that outcome will occur. Vision coaching is used by sports coaches to help athletes visualize the process of winning – e.g. urging them to picture themselves crossing the finish line and receiving their gold medal or trophy on the podium. The idea is that the process of visualization prepares the body for the task it is about to undertake, erasing feelings of self-doubt that might otherwise hinder progress by carving a path towards the desired outcome.

This approach is ideal when there is a specific goal or outcome to achieve. Sports coaching often uses visualization techniques and many athletes say they practice the technique before competing. Vision coaching can also work well when working with confidence and public speaking.

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