What is the difference between Coaching and Coaching Psychology?

Coaching and coaching psychology are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two. Whilst both coaching and coaching psychology aim to facilitate change and improvement in individuals, they approach the process from different angles. In this feature, we will explore some of the differences between coaching and coaching psychology, their methodologies, and the benefits they offer.


Coaching and coaching psychology are two terms that are often used interchangeably. Coaching has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people seeking the help of a coach to improve their personal or professional lives. In this article, we will explore the difference between these two terms and how they can be used to help individuals achieve their goals.

Definition of coaching

Coaching is a process of facilitating change and improvement in individuals. In its most naive form, coaching involves a partnership between a coach and a client, where the coach helps the client to identify their goals and develop a plan to achieve them. Coaching is a non-directive process, meaning that the coach does not tell the client what to do. Instead, the coach helps the client to explore their own thoughts, feelings and knowledge base and come up with their own solutions.

Definition of coaching psychology

Coaching psychology is a more specialized field that is focused on understanding and enhancing human behaviour, performance and wellbeing. Based on the principles of psychology and built on the foundations of empirical evidence, an established theoretical base and ethical practice, it uses psychological techniques and theories to facilitate change in individuals. Coaching psychology is concerned with understanding the individual’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioural processes, as well as their social and environmental context.

Coaching psychology is a client-centred, results focused, evidence-informed approach to coaching that encourages clients to achieve sustainable, positive change through new ways of thinking and behaving.

Coaching and coaching psychology: Differences and Similarities

Coaching and coaching psychology share many similarities. Both approaches are focused on facilitating change and improvement in individuals. However, the main difference between the two lies in their underlying principles and methodologies as well as the level and type of training required. Coaching as a non-directive process is underpinned by many of the principles of humanistic psychology. It is centred on the idea that individuals have the capacity to change and grow, and that they are the best experts on their own lives. Coaching psychology, on the other hand, can be both non-directive and more directive in nature and draws from its wide evidence-based foundations that include principles of cognitive and behavioural psychology. It is concerned with understanding the individual’s psychological processes and using this knowledge to facilitate change.


Coaching and coaching psychology are two approaches that can help individuals achieve their goals and improve their overall well-being. Whilst both approaches share some similarities, coaching psychology is distinct in the breadth of methodologies and underlying principles on which it is based as well as the training and continuous professional development required by the practitioner to be recognised as a Coaching Psychologist.


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