What is Coaching Psychology and How Does it Work?

What is Coaching Psychology and How Does it Work?

Coaching psychology is a relatively new field that applies psychological theories and evidence-based coaching techniques to help people achieve personal or professional goals and enhance their well-being. Rather than focusing on mental illness or dysfunction, it takes a strengths-based approach to realizing human potential.

The Goals of Coaching Psychology

Some of the main goals of coaching psychology include:

  • Improving self-awareness and understanding of one’s values, strengths, and growth areas
  • Setting meaningful goals and taking action to achieve them
  • Enhancing motivation, resilience and overall well-being
  • Developing healthier thinking patterns and self-care skills
  • Unlocking creativity for better problem-solving

Key Techniques Used in Coaching Psychology

Coaching psychologists draw from various evidence-based techniques such as:

  • Motivational interviewing: Asking open-ended questions and using reflective listening to elicit the client’s own motivations for change.
  • Cognitive-behavioral techniques: Helping clients identify unhelpful thoughts and replace them with more realistic or constructive ones.
  • Positive psychology interventions: Practicing gratitude, identifying strengths to leverage, etc. to boost wellbeing.
  • Goal-setting theory: Collaboratively setting specific, measurable goals and planning action steps.
  • Growth mindset development: Cultivating the belief that abilities can be developed with effort over time.

The Coaching Relationship

The coaching relationship is often seen as a partnership focused on the client’s growth and goals. While a counseling relationship may focus more on healing past wounds, coaches take a forward-facing orientation.

Coaches aim to create a safe space for self-discovery through mindful and compassionate listening. Rather than giving advice, they ask powerful questions to draw out the client’s inner wisdom. Through this collaborative alliance, clients build self-awareness and chart their own path forward.

Who Can Benefit from Coaching Psychology?

A wide range of people can benefit from working with a coaching psychologist, including:

  • Those going through career changes or transitions
  • Entrepreneurs and small business owners
  • Corporate executives and leaders
  • People looking to improve health or relationships
  • Individuals working to develop confidence or life balance

Essentially, anyone with personal or professional growth goals can potentially enhance their journey with coaching psychology support.

How to Get Started with Coaching Psychology

If you’re interested in exploring coaching psychology for yourself, here are some tips:

  1. Look for a certified coach with legitimate psychology credentials
  2. Schedule an initial consultation to see if the coach is a good fit
  3. Be open and honest about your goals, strengths, and growing edges
  4. Commit to actions discussed each session for maximum impact
  5. Keep an open mind as you gain new self-insight and make changes


What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?

Therapy focuses more on understanding and resolving past issues, while coaching looks ahead to set goals and build skills for growth. However, there can be some overlap.

Do you need training to be a coach?

Yes, accredited coach training that grounds techniques in evidence-based frameworks is essential for providing safe, ethical, and truly helpful coaching.

How long do people typically work with a coach?

The average coaching engagement lasts about 6 months, but it depends on each person’s unique needs and goals. Some continue longer to reinforce new positive habits over time.

How often do you meet with a coaching psychologist?

Coaching sessions often start more frequently when initiating the work, then taper to once every 2-4 weeks for continued support and accountability.

Is coaching covered by health insurance?

Currently, health insurance and employee benefits seldom cover coaching costs. But as more evidence demonstrates ROI, coverage may expand over time across major providers.