Intention in YOUR Coaching Relationships


January 17, 2013

In a recent blog post we looked at an equation that defines coaching, relationship plus intention plus purpose equals coaching.

But did you know that coaching is not the only kind of intentional relationship? And that there is an equation that defines each of the other kinds?   Let's look at the other kinds of intentional relationships.

The four core intentional relationships are: coaching, mentoring, consulting, and counseling.  There are others but they fall under these four main categories.

zoomThe working definition of CoachNet uses for coaching is: "a relationship with a purpose, focused on facilitating change."  A coach uses powerful questions intentional listening and action steps to journeying with a client from where they are to where they want to be. (This is very similar to the definition that lots of websites used to define coaching.)  When you follow these core ideas, your relationships zoom into focus and your coaching can't help but become more effective.  The people you coach are the big winners!

If you look beneath the surface of this definition, you can see where the three pieces of that equation come to life!  Relationship? Well that's pretty obvious. No coaching happens without a relationship. Intention on the other hand, is a little harder to see.  A coach can use high quality, top level coaching techniques, but still not make any progress. It's the intention that makes the difference.  Both the coach and the person being coached have to be able to commit to leveraging this relationship (or a part of it) to accomplish a particular purpose.  That's what intention means.

What is your strategy to leverage your coaching relationships to accomplish a leader's purpose? Or are you satisfied with just being in a relationship with your clients? The intention often predicts the outcome.

So when you're coaching, there are three key questions a coach has to ask internally to gauge the intention of what's happening in the conversation:

  • What is the person being coached trying to accomplish?
  • How can we together add some intentional conversation/structure about what they're trying to accomplish to our conversation? 
  • How prepared am I to teach something when/if they don't have something to talk about?

The foundation of relationship plus intention is what makes the difference in an intentional relationship. In the next series of blog posts will look at the differences between coaching and each of the other three, and unpack some other kinds of intentional relationships that you might run into in your coaching career.

For more from Jonathan Reitz, please click here.

Jonathan ReitzJonathan Reitz has a number of impressive titles at CoachNet Global (Chairman/CEO/Guy with Coffee).  Jonathan has been coaching since 1996 and has worked with over 500 clients in the church, the non-profit sector and the business world. 

  “Coaching plays a part in the kind of leadership the world needs,” says Jonathan Reitz.  “I want to be a part of that.”

Contact Jonathan Reitz at or by phone at 440.550.4374.  Follow him on Twitter @jonathanreitz

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