List of Coaching Skills Definitions

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Coaching Skills Definition and Glossary of Terms

Here is a handy list of terms often used in executive coaching. For a comprehensive coaching skills definition, and guide to how it can improve the performance of your managers and team, check out our Ultimate Guide to Coaching Skills.

You can jump to the sections with the links below:


The art of assisting an individual to reach their maximum potential. A coach guides the “coachee” into overcoming barriers using their communication skills. They help them to think outside of their comfort zone. As a result, the coachee is encouraged to come up with new ideas and make sound decisions on their own.


Like coaching, the goal of mentorship is for the mentor to help his or her apprentice or “mentee”. The difference with coaching is the mentor provides advice and support. A mentor is, consequently, usually an experienced professional in the same field as the mentee.

Learning Style

A specific way an individual prefers to learn. By identifying an individual’s learning style, they can unlock better learning processes. Moreover, individual learning styles are a key part of the Sticky Learning® method. It helps commit new learnings and skills to memory.

Learning Methods, teacher, mentor, coach, trainer, counsellor


Repetitive behaviour that ran the more energy-efficient parts of the human brain. To create habits, an individual must learn a new skill or behaviour. This allows the brain to create mental “maps” or connections to make the task easier. Until one day it becomes easier and routine. The brain will then be able to focus on other avenues.

Hebbian Theory

In the late 1940’s, Donald Hebb developed a theory that when humans learn new things, the brain starts to change. The neuron cells alter to fit the new processes. Consequently, the more focus an individual allots to a certain task or skill, the deeper the analysis and connections it creates in the brain.


Donald Hebb’s theory believes that the brain is elastic and moreover can adapt to new skills by creating new connections.

GROW Model

GROW is a famous coaching model developed by Sir John Whitmore, Graham Alexander, and Alan Fine in the 1980’s. The coaching model suggests there are four stages of coaching. These stages include goal, reality, options, and will. The coach encourages their coaches to check and assess themselves and additionally will use mind maps to explore all options.

GROW Coaching Model, coaching skills definition

OSKAR Coaching Model

A coaching model developed in the early 2000’s by Mark McKergow and Paul Z Jackson. It follows a process like OSCAR. It looks at, outcome, scaling, know-how, affirm & action, and review.

Personal Development Plans (PDPs) or Individual Development Plans (IDPs)

These are a visual plan of where an individual sees themselves over a set timescale. They explore where they are now (present) and where they want to be (the future). Finally, the necessary steps to get from present self to future self are then formulated.

Competency Framework

A set of metrics that an employer uses to define expectations from employees with various roles. These frameworks are used for coaching and development sessions. Furthermore, they help measure performance management, and as a tool for recruitment.


Drivers are internal pressures that influence individuals to act in a certain way.


When the varying opinions, negotiations, and ideals of individuals collide, resulting in disagreement.

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI)

A tool that helps determine how an individual reacts when confronted with conflict.

Hermann Brain Dominance Index (HBDI)

A tool that performs a psychometric assessment to help identify the thought preferences of an individual. A coach can use this information to help set up the coaching process. Furthermore, it allows them to better meet their needs by considering thought preferences.

Executive Coaching

When a company employee undertakes one-to-one coaching sessions. This often complements leadership skills training and other personal development plans. An executive coach is usually given to managers, those with existing leadership roles, or potential leaders.

Project Oxygen

A research project led by Google that aimed to identify the things that great managers do. It proved how good coaching is the most important activity for management success.

For further coaching articles and information, take a look at our award-winning blog and it’s content on Coaching Tips.

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Aileen Artificio

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