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  • Writer's picturepaulaholahan

What is cognitive behavioural coaching?

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

What kind of skills / techniques do you use?

Coaching is about facilitating your personal and professional development. This involves a structured insightful conversation employing various coaching models such as the Grow and / or SPACE models to name a few. These models are important because you are involved in unravelling your core beliefs, overcoming barriers to achieve your focused identified goal (Neenan M & Palmer S, 2012).

Questioning techniques such as Socratic Questioning used in cognitive coaching is vital as it enables you to unravel your thoughts and core beliefs into rational thinking and supports you to come up with your own solutions. An example of Socratic Questioning would be if someone states, ‘no-one understands me’, I would posit the Socratic question ‘what evidence do you have that no-one understands you?’, more than likely you would reply ‘well, my friends understand me but my partner sometimes doesn’t’ (Neenan M & Palmer S, 2012).

Will you give me advice?

In addition, another example of coaching could be a parent returning to paid work after a long period away from the sector, may be worried about managing their time. After a conversation, you may use a phrase like ‘I am worried about managing work and home because I have to keep on top of the household chores.’ I would probe to find out what the reasons are that you think you have to keep on top of the chores and see if there is an underlying emotion attached such as guilt or perfectionism. We would work together to look at solutions that is the best fit for you. This is a significant part of coaching as you are active in your program of development and will understand that the process can be uncomfortable and that changing a mindset is not easy but can be hugely rewarding (Neenan M & Dryden W, 2013).

What are the differences between coaching and other therapies?

One of the main differences in coaching and other techniques such as mentoring or counselling, is that mentors and counsellors are experts in their subject area and are in a position of power as they are interpreting and prescribing for their clients continuously either by directing or focusing on an area that may not be so relevant to the client. Coaching involves you at every step and you are active in coming up with your own solutions and I may share some tools or ideas if it is welcomed by you (Neenan M & Dryden W, 2013).

What is the purpose of coaching?

Consequently, if you have been struggling to separate the wood from the trees, the goal of coaching is the that you become your own self-coach by internalising coaching techniques, so you now respond to a given situation with clarity and balance (Martin C, 2019).

What reason would I choose coaching over another talking therapy?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 12.4 million working days are lost due to work related illnesses such as depression, anxiety and stress. In addition, 602,000 people in 2018/19 reported stress related illnesses. The group to be most affected were professional workers. There are many factors, but the main cause is workload (HSE, 2019). Sadly, less people are likely to turn to therapy as it is still viewed as a stigma, but coaching seems to be a positive alternative (Palmer S & McDowall A, 2010).


Martin C, 2019. The Life Coaching Handbook: Everything You Need To Be An Effective Life Coach. Crown House: Carmarthen

Palmer S & McDowall A, 2010, The Coaching Relationship: Putting People First, Routledge: Oxon

M & Dryden W, 2013. Life Coaching: A cognitive behavioural approach. Routledge: Hove

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