Coaching definitions

We will use these definitions within the UNTHSC coaching program:


The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with teams or team members in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches are responsible for:

  • Supporting team clarity and alignment around what they hope to achieve
  • Encouraging team self-discovery
  • Eliciting team-generated solutions and strategies
  • Helping the team hold themselves accountable

Formal Coaching

Formal coaching sessions are explicit one one one session between a coach and team member at a specifically scheduled time to discuss the team members goals where the coach is primarily focused on listening and asking powerful questions.

In the Moment Coaching

In the moment or informal coaching can occur at any time as coaches turn every day moments into learning opportunities.  Through observation, listening, and asking questions a coach can assist team members in learning from their experiences, developing solutions, and overcoming barriers.  Also, these informal conversations and feedback can be used to follow up on existing goals or establish new ones.

Next time someone comes to you with an issue or you make observations about someone’s performance, instead of giving advice, ask them powerful questions and turn it into a coaching moment.

Individual coaching

Coaching focused on the needs of individual team members that allows them to meet their goals and developmental potential.

Team coaching

Coaching focused on two or more members of the same work unit with an explicit or shared purpose. Agenda is set by the team with the team leader.

Group coaching

Coaching focused on two or more individuals, not necessarily from the same work units, who have similar goals and interests (e.g., a group of research scientists, or a group of admin assistants from various units). Agenda is set by the group members.