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Coaching Skills: Providing Information


Many of the coaching definitions highlight the non-directive aspects of coaching. In Coaching for Work Experience, is it possible or desirable to be truly non-directive?

Activity: Make a list of the pros and cons of coaching non-directively in your context. We will discuss these on the training days.


I see there as being 2 elements of directiveness in coaching and it is worth distinguishing between them: giving information and giving advice.

A Skills Pyramid

A contrasting view to Thomson's list of the skills used in coaching (although they don't use that language) comes in the Ali and Graham text on 'The Counselling Approach to Careers Guidance'. In chapter 5, Counselling Skills, they offer a pyramid model, to convey how skills are used. This is interesting in that it incorporates giving information.


Active Listening Skills are defined as: observing the client's behaviour, listening to the client's words, listening to the adviser's (sic) feelings, listening to silence

Understanding Skills are defined as: restating, parahrasing, summarising and questioning

Interpretative Skills are defined as: challenging, being specific, self-disclosure, giving information and immediacy.

The pyramid structure reflects the way that the skills used increasingly rely on the empathy created by ongoing active listening. The higher up the pyramid, the greater the level of influence of the coach.