Life Skills & Goal-Oriented Coaching

From day one, coaching focuses on the coachee/mentee. People participate in or seek out coaching because they want things to be different. They are looking for change or they have important goals to reach. People come to coaching for lots of individual reasons. They are motivated to achieve specific goals: to write a book, to start a business, to learn another language, to have a healthier body. They come to coaching in order to be more effective or more satisfied at work or to develop new skills to help navigate life’s changes. Sometimes people want more from life—more peace of mind, more security, or more impact in their work. And sometimes they want less—less confusion, less stress, less financial pressure. In general, they come to coaching because they want a better quality of life—more fulfillment, better balance—or a different process for accomplishing their life desires. Whatever the individual reason, it all starts with a stirring of motivation within the coachee/mentee (House, House & Sandahl, 2011 p.1).

Coaching is the opposite of judging and the need to control and direct. A coaching relationship helps people work out issues, find what is really causing their problems and find their own answers through the skillful use of listening and probing questions.

The Integrated Person - goal-oriented coaching methodology consists of the following core constructs:
  1. Non-directive;
  2. Goal-focused;
  3. Action planning;
  4. Performance-driven;
  5. Self-tracking;
  6. Quantifiable;
  7. Course adjusted, when necessary for better results; and
  8. Regular follow-up coaching sessions.

The goal-oriented approach to coaching diverges from more therapeutic or personal development approaches and “closely aligns with a constructivist approach to learning which provides a person-centered, authentic and challenging area for goal-directed, problem-based learning (Woolfolk, 1998).”

The primary objective is assisting the person to identify and form well-crafted goals and develop an effective action plan. The role of the coach is to stimulate ideas and action to ensure that the goals are consistent with the person's main life values and interests, life purpose and worldview rather than working on helping the person to adjust his or her values and beliefs, statement of personal purpose, and philosophy or worldview.
The goal-oriented approach aims to achieve its goals in a comparatively short space of time and normally focuses on a relatively defined issue or goal.

Coaching is a collaborative solution-focused, result-oriented, and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of life experience and goal attainment in the personal life of normal, non-clinical individuals (Grant, 2003).

Coaching does not focus directly on relieving psychological pain or treating cognitive or emotional disorders.

Coaching aligns well with adult and lifelong learning theory. Working through a goal-oriented, self-directed and active connection between new learning and life experience, as in adult learning, coaching addresses an individual’s need to know and readiness to learn. Reflective of adult learning theory (Knowles, Holton & Swanson, 1998; Rodgers, 1986), by operating from a responsive goal-centered framework, it allows learners to clearly understand the benefits, value and reason for learning thereby facilitating understanding of what is most useful to real life (Hurd, 2002; Skiffington & zeus, 2003).

The coach's skills lie in helping the coachee tell their problem story in a way that reframes the presenting problem as being solvable and highlights the client's resources and ability to define and move toward a solution, while at the same time building a collaborative relationship in which  the coach has permission to hold the client accountable for proposed action steps. At its best, the solution-focused approach enables people to access and use the wealth of personal experience, skills, expertise, and intuition that resides within all of us. It allows coaches to find individualized and creative solutions to the issues and concerns that face them.

The following are a number of the essential features of effective coaching:
  • Coaching is a goal-oriented, solution-focused process in which the coach works with the coachee to help identify and construct possible solutions, delineate a range of goals and options, and then facilitate the development and enactment of action plans to achieve those goals.
  • Coaching is a systematic process designed to facilitate development (change) whether cognitive, emotional or behavioral or spiritual.
  • Coaching is intended for a non-clinical population.
  • Coaching is an individualized, tailor-made approach.
  • Coaching aims to encourage the coachee/mentee to assume responsibility for change of their life.
  • Coaching is based on the twin growth areas of awareness and responsibility.
  • Coaching is reliant on the twin skills of deep listening and generating powerful questioning.
  • Coaching involves a collaboration and egalitarian relationship, rather than one based on authority.
  • Coaching is an opportunity to introduce the coachee/mentee to the value of personal data for self-knowledge through self-tracking.

A coach creates a relationship within which the person agrees to be held accountable for the choices that they make:
  • Coaching is designed to access the inner resourcefulness of the person and is built on their wealth of knowledge, experience, and intuition.
  • Coaching is focused on the achievement of a clearly stated goal rather than problem analysis.
  • Coaching has been shown to foster and be underpinned by philosophies of adult learning theory and theories of life-long learning (Hurd, 2002; Grant, 2001; Parsloe, 1992; Skiffington & Zeus, 2003; Wilkins, 2000).
  • Coaching also appears to draw on sizable chunks of mentoring theory (Parsloe, 1992; Zachary, 2000).
  • Coaching is intended to integrate the coachee/mentee dimensions of heart, mind, body and spirit through a focus on the whole person in recognition that a decision affecting one area of life inevitably ripples through all areas of one's life (House, House & Sandahl, 2011).

The coach's role is to find ways to direct the coachee's attention toward solutions, and to foster the emergence and development of a solution-focused mind-set. There are two key interrelated factors in this process: (1) changing the viewing-- that is, helping the coachee to perceive the issues in a new, more useful way, and (2) changing the doing-- that is, helping the coachee to develop behavioral change.

Changing the viewing involves at least five things: (1) detailing the preferred outcome, (2) identifying exception to the problem, (3) amplifying existing resources, (4) building coachee self-efficacy, and (5) acknowledging the progress made so far.

Changing the doing also involves at least five things: (1) acknowledging possibilities by turning presenting problems into platforms for solution construction, (2) asking "how" questions instead of "why" questions, (3) generating client-congruent multiple options, (4) using small specific doable action steps, and (5) finding ways to leverage multiple systems to facilitate individual change.

The specific coaching knowledge, skills and experience needed consists of the ability to:
  • Identify personally valued and relevant goals;
  • Help with the development of action plans and problem-solving techniques;
  • Work to keep the coachee/mentee active, motivated and engaged during the goal striving process;
  • Help the coachee/mentee develop ways and means to overcome setbacks along the way;
  • Explicit and formal training in evidence-based coaching skills in working with others;
  • Understand what is most important/consequential throughout the human life cycle;
  • Facilitate conversation processes such as questioning, reforming statements, summarizing, listening reflectively and person reflection in order to evoke learning; and
  • Network with experienced coaching support, and utilize an expanding body of knowledge and evidence-based outcomes.


Advice, opinions, or suggestions are offered in coaching/mentoring. However, the coachee/mentee is free to accept or decline what is offered and takes ultimate responsibility for action.

General measures of success:
  • Achievement of specific personalized goals
  • Building on existing strengths as well as adding new ones
  • Deep and long-lasting learning through a learning partnership
  • Experiential skill-based learning
  • Life planning and enhancement
  • Self-regulated accountability
  • Solid commitment to planned action
  • Understood value and reason for learning

Specific measures of success:
  • Ability to identify challenges and blocks
  • Autonomy, purpose in life, and personal growth
  • Better career choices
  • Better communication and problem-solving skills
  • Better reception and use of feedback
  • Better understanding of consequences of actions
  • Broader perspectives and insight
  • Changes in behavior, increased awareness of wants, and present-focus 
  • Development of a felt sense of ownership
  • Enhancement of academic performance
  • Higher quality of life and sense of well-being
  • Increased resilience when faced with difficulties or set-back
  • Improvement of competencies and functioning
  • Life balance and lower stress levels
  • More effective thinking strategies
  • Resistance to bullying and peer pressure
  • Self-confidence, self-discovery and self-expression
  • Self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-evaluation
  • Self-regulation of cognition, emotions, and actions
  • Self-actualization, full-functioning, and individualization
  • Self-acceptance, positive relations with others, and environmental mastery

Assessment instruments:
  • ACS – Adolescent Coping Scale (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993)
  • ATS – Affect Temperament Scales (Kuhl & Kazen, 2007)
  • PANAS – Positive Affect/Negative Affect Scales (Watson, Clark & Tellegen, 1988)
  • PWB – Psychological well-being (Ryff, 1990)
  • SDQ – Strengths and difficulties questionnaire (Goodman et al, 2003)
  • SOI – Spiritual Orientation Inventory (Elkins et al, 1988)
  • SWB – Subjective well-being (Land, 1975)
  • SWLS – Satisfaction with life scale (Diener et al, 1985)
  • SWT – Spiritual Wellness Test (Ingersoll, 1996)
  • S-C-Eval – Summative Coaching Evaluation (Runde, 2005)
  • SRIS – Self-Reflection and Insight Scales (Grant et al, 2002)

Target market:
  • Local barbershops
  • Schools
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Civic organizations (i.e., Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, local churches, YM/YWCA, community centers, parent/teacher associations - (PTA))
  • Parent's of teenagers
  • Youth transitioning to adulthood
  • Athletes (at all levels)
  • Intercollegiate Sports Teams