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10 Major Life Coaching Approaches and 5 Popular Coaching Styles to Consider

Coaching is a powerful tool to enhance performance, achieve results, and optimise personal excellence. Transform your professional and personal life with the proper coaching technique.

Coaching is a development process that involves guiding and training individuals to reach their professional or personal goals. An experienced coach can improve your life by helping you to define your goals with clarity and handle fears and challenges towards achieving them. However, coaching approaches and methods vary widely in different situations.

There are different ways to coach others, each with unique benefits and suitable for different situations. It is essential to understand different life coaching approaches and styles to determine the most effective choice in certain settings. Choosing and following the best coaching approach enables you to lead your life in a more meaningful way.

Understanding the Major Coaching Approaches

Let us elaborate on some of the most prominent life coaching approaches that confident and skilled coaches rely on. Here are the 10 most popular techniques used in various styles of coaching:

1. Democratic Coaching

As the term "democratic” suggests, this coaching technique facilitates decision-making and goal-setting with input from clients. This coaching style is popular among athletes and sportspersons as it focuses on a learner and helps them become more accountable.

Democratic coaching promotes a healthy team culture where clients and coaches make decisions together. Coaches give a lot of autonomy to athletes and teams, in their own development and direction.

2. Authoritarian Coaching

Authoritarian or autocratic coaching involves coaches making all decisions with little to no input from clients. Coaches articulate a vision for what the clients need to accomplish and give clear specific tasks and actions.

Clients work toward their target as instructed and trust their coach to make good decisions consistently. In sports analogy, it is best suited to new players who need to accomplish something and are expected to perform.

3. Holistic Coaching

Holistic coaching, also known as the ''laissez-faire” approach to coaching, gives people total freedom. In this approach, the coach does not act as a central authority and allows clients to set their own agenda.

This coaching approach is quite effective for nutritional advice and exercise routines to reach your fitness goals. In sports analogy, it is best suited to mature players who have already developed the sincerity and self-awareness to be self-guided.

4. Vision Coaching

Vision coaching is an approach that revolves around future thinking. Coaches give explicit directions, they encourage learners or clients to do their best and achieve their goals. This approach helps clients to develop and focus on a vision, encouraging them to work toward it.

5. Delegative Coaching

This coaching approach lets clients make decisions independently and help them become more accountable for their actions. Coaches provide a few crucial directions and insights to clients and offer further guidance whenever required during the quest to achieve their goals.

6. Mindful Coaching

Mindful coaches listen to their clients deeply and empathetically. They ask thought-provoking questions to help learners become more self-aware and encourage reflection. This approach improves their focus and helps them better visualise their goals.

7. Bureaucratic Coaching

The bureaucratic coaching technique involves a clear chain of command, certain regulations, and affirmations. Coaches create and encourage decision-making while complying with the necessary rules and detailed outlines.

8. Developmental Coaching

Developmental coaching helps clients identify learning opportunities, accelerate their professional development and achieve their career objectives. Coaches offer necessary guidance to professionals who want to get a job promotion and ascend the career ladder quickly.

9. Group Coaching

Group coaching, also known as peer group coaching, brings together a group of individuals or learners having the same goal to achieve. It has become increasingly common in recent years with human resources and organisational development teams.

10. Transformational Coaching

Transformational coaching technique involves critical reflection of how someone sees themselves, other people, their situation and the world. This coaching technique explores the client's beliefs, values aspirations and expectations to create better possibilities to transform their life.

Most Popular Areas of Coaching

Coaching can be very helpful to achieve objectives at work or in your personal life. Here are 5 most popular areas of life where you can apply coaching:

1. Career Coaching

Career coaching is professional training that enables you to foster crucial skills, personality traits, and habits to get ahead in your career. This type of coaching helps in attaining higher self-awareness and learning to lead with confidence. It transforms people in higher positions at workplaces into more effective leaders.

2. Life or Personal Coaching

A life coach empowers you to visualise, verbalise and manifest your best life. They can help you see through challenging phases of life while helping you create a vision of where you want your life to go and a plan to get there.

3. Business or Executive Coaching

A business coach assists and guides leaders and business owners in running their organisations with an encouraging growth rate. They guide and help clarify the mission and vision of their company and offer crucial insights on how to achieve it.

4. Performance Coaching

A performance coach helps professionals working in an organisation better understand the requirements of their jobs, and hone the skills they need to enhance work performance like time management, communication skills and so on.

5. Succession Coaching

Succession coaches help organisations find and train potential candidates for senior management positions. They identify the competencies a candidate needs to improve to meet expectations in a new role, then create a bespoke training solution to develop those skills. They ensure a smooth transition to new roles.

The most effective coaching depends greatly on your mindset, purpose, mission and values, and the goals you want to achieve. Also, both coach and client personality play a crucial role in what is most effective. Understand the coaching approaches to choose the best coach and transform your life.

Take the free quiz to find out if you can benefit from life coaching.

Smita D Jain is a Certified Life Coach, Executive Coach and NLP Practitioner. Smita’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Personal Clarity Coaching Programs enable busy professionals unhappy in their jobs to tap into their passions and transform them into professions so that they work because they want to, not because they have to. 'Empower Yourself’ Executive Performance Enhancement Coaching Programs enable mid-career and senior executives to speak with confidence and communicate with impact so that they emerge as leaders sooner than envisaged.

Prior to her journey as a coach, Smita had extensive experience of 14 years as a corporate and business strategy professional with Fortune 500 companies. She is also a TEDx speaker, a speaker at various public forums, a published writer, and an Amazon bestselling author.

You can learn more about Personal Empowerment Life Coach and Executive Coach Smita D Jain’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Programs by visiting and book a strategy session at

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