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Essential Coaching Competencies in Coach-Client Relationships

Coaching is a collaborative effort between the coach and client for the goal of attaining a professional development outcome (Grant, Passmore, Cavanagh, & Parker, 2010). The coaching relationship is really a tool for change, as numerous studies look to compare coaching with counseling and psychotherapy (O’Broin & Palmer, 2006). As the relationship of the coach-client relationship is viewed as more collegial, as there is less of a need for full disclosure from the client’s perspective (O’Broin & Palmer, 2006). The essential coaching competencies in a coach-client relationship are interpersonal effectiveness, listening, empathy, among others as the coach from the client’s standpoint needs to build a strong connection to the coaching process (O’Broin & Palmer, 2006). A coaching competency that is also important is the ability to understand root-cause analysis as the coach will need to problem solve and apply goal setting skills (Grant et al., 2010). As coaching could be a complex adaptive conversation, coaching occurs in stages, including relationship building and feedback from the client (O’Broin & Palmer, 2006). Through external coaching, consultants can help in anticipating and solving coordination issues and build a learning environment where individuals collaborate effectively. Ultimately you want to avoid failures in performance strategies and help team members think creatively.


Grant, A. M., Passmore, J., Cavanagh, M. J., & Parker, H. M. (2010). 4 The State of Play in Coaching Today: A Comprehensive Review of the Field. International review of industrial and organizational psychology, 25(1), 125-167.

O’Broin, A., & Palmer, S. (2006). The coach-client relationship and contributions made by the coach in improving coaching outcome. The Coaching Psychologist, 2(2), 16-20.

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