What is a coaching course?

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What is a coaching course? 

Once the idea of learning to be a coach has come into our head, the first question we ask ourselves is “how?”. How do we study, what do we need to learn, which course should we take?  

The courses available to do with coaching are so widespread that it merits a whole blog just to demystify this! The main reason that it is confusing is that different courses have different purposes. Some are designed for skills and qualifications, and some are designed to support the growth of a business. And we do not want to end up on the wrong course for our needs!  

Coaching courses: what people are looking for 

In general, people are looking for one of three things when thinking about training to be a coach. 

To learn coaching skills. The desire to have these core skills under our belt, so that we can use them in some professional context. 

To set up a run a coaching business. The skills are part of it. Mostly there is a desire to create a coaching business, be self-employed and earn our living through coaching. 

As part of personal development:  There is a recognition that coaching is part of that whole personal development world. Learning to be a coach is part of learning to be “the best you” as the jargon says. 

There may be other reasons that draw us to coaching, but these seem to be the main categories. And of course, some people may be coming to coaching because they are interested in more than one of the areas. 

The challenge is to find the right thing for us, based on what we are looking for. Organisations are great at marketing messages. They make their programmes look like they cover every need. We can get side-tracked from our original wishes when we come across a programme that has all bells and whistles. That is why it’s very helpful to have a good understanding of why you want to learn coaching skills, and what you want to use these skills to do. 

Then we can look at how the coaching industry responds to these, and what is available. 

Courses to learn coaching skills 

This is the most professional end of the coaching market, with qualifications, university accreditations, affiliation with professional learning bodies. There are a wide range of courses on offer, to suit all budgets, from brief courses to full master’s programmes. For an in-depth view on these, see my blog on which coaching qualification to takePeople who want to learn coaching skills, either as a beginner or at an advanced level, are well served. There is plenty of choice, with a good possibility of finding ongoing learning that will continue to satisfy our needs. 

Courses to run a coaching business 

This is a less structured area than above. Similarly, there is plenty available, but the offers are very varied. Often the courses are a mix of coaching skills and coaching business structures. At the same time as learning how to coach, we can also learn the rudiments of business development. 

Sometimes these courses just focus on the business development aspect and assume that you will learn your coaching skills elsewhere, or you already have them. 

Unlike with coaching qualifications, this is an unregulated area. The majority of programmes are not linked to any formal training or accreditation process. This makes it a bit of a free for all, and hard to work out if the course will live up to all the fantastic promises it makes! 

Coaching and personal development 

The other area that coaching courses have responded to is the desire for personal development. These courses are a combination of learning how to coach and working on yourself. Often they will be residential, having names like “be your best you”. They give you a good chance to immerse yourself fully in the process. Again, the range will be very wide, from courses that are highly practical to those that are pretty spiritual. We need to look carefully to make sure that we understand what is being offered. 

Final thoughts 

If you are reading this blog, it’s likely that you are considering coaching, for one reason or another. If that is the case, then consider what is your motivation. If it is to be skilled enough to coach in any context, then take a coaching skills course. If it is to learn how to coach and run a coaching business, still take the skills course. And then take the coaching business course. And if it is personal development you seek as a primary motivator, there are courses for you too. And if it is still all unclear, then give me a call and I will happily chat through options with you! 


Happy researching and happy coaching! 


Is your organisation ready to develop a coaching culture? Perhaps coaching is being introduced informally. Or you have been caoched, saw the benefits and are keen to pass this opportunity to others. We support many organisations to develop a strong coaching culture, with advice, planning and ideas. See our create a coaching culture flyer for more details


If you were stimulated by this article and want to know more about how to use coaching for your career, your organisation or your life generally, then get in contact. Email us at charlie@loveyourcoaching.com or book in a time for a 30-minute phone or Zoom call https://loveyourcoaching.10to8.com  

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Charlie Warshawski is a leadership coach and coach trainer. He runs an accredited coach training organisation, Love Your Coaching, offering coaching qualifications. In his coaching, he works 1:1 with leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs, supporting them on topics that are both professional and personal – according to their needs 

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Coaching session structures

How to start a coaching conversation?

Our coachee looks to us to handle the timing and the structure of their coaching sessions. And if we don’t, they will do as they always do – either talk a lot or be very brief. They are right – it is down to us to set up coaching in a way that enables them to explore their topics well. That enables them to reflect and have insights. And that gets them focused from the very beginning.