Finding the Best Fit: Different Types of Coaching Styles Explained

Different Coaching Styles, and the Impact of Type on Best Fit

Minimalist artistic interpretation of "best-fit"

These days, there are a multitude of different coaching styles in action, each with their own perceived strengths and weaknesses, and variances in approach.

Of the popular types of coaching styles, some have common application in scenarios that involve working with individual athletes (such as sport performance coaching), and others are more commonly used when working with families (such as developmental coaching).

Within a professional or corporate environment, you’re likely to find different styles of coaching, including leadership coaching, group coaching, and bureaucratic coaching, among many others.

Within the personal coaching space, you might find a few different types of life coaching styles in application, from transformational coaching, through to mindful coaching (focusing on self-awareness), positive psychology coaching, and other holistic coaching styles.

This variety is great, and there are wonderfully effective coaches in every style!

The challenge is that it can make things complicated for individuals who are considering implementing coaching into their lives. After all, there is no one style of coaching that works for all situations!

So how do you make a decision as to which coaching approach or style is right for your particular need?

In this article we help you start your journey by taking a quick look at three of the more common coaching styles: autocratic coaching, democratic coaching, and laissez faire coaching.

Each style has its own coaching process, characteristics, pros, and cons.

Choosing one of the many coaching styles can be daunting, but remind yourself that you don’t have to commit to a style right away. Part of the journey is experience, and you may find that achieving desired outcomes in different situations soon just become another part of the journey.

Start by establishing some authentic statements as to why you’re seeking coaching, and what you’re hoping to gain. Use these statements to guide your actions.

Autocratic Coaching Style

The autocratic coaching style can sometimes be referred to as “authoritarian coaching”. In practice, it is known to be a more rigid coaching style.

Autocratic coaching style and its characteristics

It’s often characterised by a coach who takes control during a coaching session and makes decisions without much input from other sources. With a directive approach, the coach sets goals and expects adherence to instructions.

Pros and cons of autocratic coaching style

While this style can be effective in certain situations where quick decisions are needed from a coach, it can also stifle creativity and limit individual growth. It’s common for some coaches to not use this style of coaching exclusively, but rather as part of their coaching leadership style or overall “toolkit”.

In these instances, coaches assess when this style is appropriate to use, and when it may hinder progress.

Democratic Coaching Style

This style has been implemented into many other coaching models and styles of leadership.

Democratic coaching style and its characteristics

Democratic coaching allows room for collaborative decision-making and involvement. This is one coaching style where a coach exercises less control and may choose not to step in other than to keep the process on track.

Pros and cons of democratic coaching style

This style encourages open communication, active participation, and shared responsibility, and can help improve decision-making ability. 

This style fosters creativity, motivation, and individual growth. However, it may slow down the decision-making process compared to autocratic coaching.

Laissez-Faire Coaching Style

The laissez-faire coaching style can sometimes be referred to as “holistic coaching”. This is because in practice, it is known to utilise holistic coaching methods and approaches.

Laissez-Faire coaching style and its characteristics

The laissez-faire coaching style encourages the individual to explore their freedom. It is characterised by a hands-off approach, with minimal direction and intervention from the coach.

Pros and cons of laissez-faire coaching style

In this style, the coach may attempt to empower individuals to make their own decisions and take ownership of their work, promoting independence and creativity. However, it may lack structure and accountability, which can lead to a lack of direction or motivation.

Choosing the right coaching style for different individuals and situations

We are all unique! What is a best fit for me might be different for you.

Every coaching practice has its own advantages, disadvantages and coaching techniques that can impact individuals differently. 

Different coaching styles may be more effective in certain situations, such as the autocratic style for quick decision-making or the democratic style for fostering collaboration and inclusivity. It’s important to consider the needs and preferences of both the coach and the individual, in order to choose the right coaching style for a successful outcome.

Hopefully this brief breakdown of three of the more common coaching types, provides you with some encouragement for introducing a coaching relationship into your life, no matter what style you use.

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to explore how you might be supported, feel free to reach out.

May you have a magical workday, every day!

Article by

Vee Haslam

I Help You Connect to the Heart of the Matter During Times of Change to Obtain Peak Performance.

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