NextGen Professional

What type of coach is right for you?

Perhaps the first question we should address is, do you need a coach?  From my perspective, if your goal is personal growth; then yes, you should consider using a coach. 

By “personal growth”, I’m referring to growth in your career; growth as a member of your family; and/or, achieving personal goals in order to find your true potential.  I believe the expression these days is “live your best life.”

Before we get into this topic, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the explanations below are my opinion and may not be identical to what you can find on Google.  My goal here is to provide some insight that will hopefully assist you in your research and allow you to ask appropriate questions of the coaches you interview. 

Please consider an earlier article titled Should we Train our team or Coach them? as supplemental reading.  That article attempts to explain the important differences between the Coaching and Training professions. 

Executive Coaching & Leadership Coaching:

Executive Coaching and Leadership Coaching have grown to be so similar in scope that I won’t try to parse the two. 

Typically, those considering Executive Coaching or Leadership Coaching would be looking for growth in the following areas:

  • Multi-level communication
  • Change management
  • Networking skills
  • Marketing strategies
  • Influencing others
  • Creating and sharing a vision
  • Increasing resiliency
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Negotiating
  • Building trust

Please note that the above list is by no means comprehensive. 

The Executive & Leadership Coaching industry has become extremely popular in recent years.  This often leads to coaches establishing a niche-within-a-niche.  As an example, my Executive Coaching practice utilizes a lot of psychology, and my goal is to clients understand the many elements that lead to their behaviours.  Other Executive Coaches follow a strict outline in their programs with the goal of touching pre-determined core competencies.  Two different styles aimed at the same result, help their clients grow.

Business Coaching:

Business Coaches are typically individuals that leverage their previous experience and expertise to support business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups and corporate leaders in managing their specific business needs.  Often times, Business Coaches are more trainers and mentors than coaches; in that, they are expected to offer advice and suggestions to their client.    

Business Coaching is not a service I offer as I don’t believe I have the business acumen to do so.  If you are looking for someone to advise you on selling your company, get a start-up off the ground, develop a KPI program, reach sales quotas; or, put a marketing plan together…I’m not your guy.  I would be happy to provide you with some referrals though! 

Career Coaching:

Clients looking for a Career Coach are typically in a transition period.  That may include: looking for new employment within their existing professional; exploring other professions; or, a new graduate entering the work-force. 

I have two primary goals when working with a Career Coaching client: (1) help them research, make an informed decision, and ultimately execute their plan; and (2), provide them with the leadership capabilities that will allow them to make an impact on day-one, regardless of where their career takes them. 

Life Coaching:

Life Coaching is the category with the broadest scope.  Certified Life Coaches are trained to essentially work with anyone.  We are taught (and tested on) frameworks, models, and techniques designed to work in most situations.  The Life Coaching industry is based on the concept of exploration; therefore, Life Coaches will typically find a niche(s) for their practice.  Their niche could be any of the categories we are covering in this article, or a myriad of others (nutrition, fitness, finance, wellness, spirituality, etc…). 

Individuals considering a Life Coach may be looking for support in any-or-all of the following:

  • Interested in exploring their future
  • Stress management
  • Feeling “stuck” on an issue
  • Dealing with a challenging relationship
  • Finding their “purpose” in life
  • Improving their Life-Balance
  • Motivation

Mental Health Coaching:

My understanding is that Mental Health Coaching is a relatively new industry; one in which governments are soon to include in the subsidy programs they offer their constituents.  How that plan rolls-out, time will tell.  Perhaps that will include coaches working under the supervision of therapists.  Do a quick Google search on “the need for mental health services” and it becomes quite obvious we need more trained professionals in that space.

My training utilized a technique called Inner Dynamics (also called Parts Integration).  Taught by the brilliant coach and trainer Mike Bundrant out of the iNLP Center in Southern California, Inner Dynamics works on the principle that our psyche consists of “parts”, and how those parts interact determines how we see and respond to the world.

Mental Health Coaching should work hand-in-glove with clinical therapy.  Us coaches are instructed how to work with a client experiencing a mental health challenge, also when (and how) to refer the to a therapist.  It primarily depends on functionality.  You can consider using a coach if your life is not being noticeably impacted by your mental state.  Are you missing work due to your mental state?  Ignoring parenting responsibilities?  Not engaging with friends and/or family?  Those are the type of functionality-based questions I’m referring to. 

Subsequent articles specific to Mental Health Coaching and related topics will follow in the coming months. 


Please don’t feel as though knowing your goals is a prerequisite for entering a coaching relationship.  Many of my clients aren’t 100% sure what they are looking for when they contact me, they simply know they want to grow as a person.  I love that as it allows for so much flexibility and variety in topics! 

Two final comments:

  1. Not every coach is suitable for every client, and not every client is suitable for every coach.
  2. It is the coach’s job to help you figure out your starting point, your goals, and the path to connect the two. So please don’t feel you have to go to your first meeting with all that ironed out!

Best wishes,