How Many Types of Coaching Are There?

Coaching is a burgeoning industry to say the least. In 2010, at the 15th anniversary of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the ICF reported more than 17,000 members and 6,900 credentialed coaches. Ten years later, at their 25th anniversary, they boasted more than 35,200 credentialed coaches with just over 10,000 of those being certified in 2020!1 Between 2015 and 2019, annual global income from coaching has risen from $2.536B to $2.849B.2 Clearly, there is both demand and means which build on the growing evidence and testimony that coaching benefits people in multiple areas of life.

Types of Coaching

Team Coaching

The ICF recently suggested that there are multiple paths to team development, including team coaching, team building, consulting, mentoring, training and facilitation. A team is a group of people who work together for a specific purpose or project. They may report to one manager or be a matrixed team that comes from several departments, such as a task force, to accomplish an objective. A team is different than a group, which is simply a gathering of people. A group would find themselves in a ballroom together having all registered for a Sales Training seminar, for example. A certified team coach, such as a Certified Team Performance Coach™ (through Team Coaching International (TCI), will address both the productivity (success metrics, KPIs) and positivity (engagement, relationships) of the team.

Leadership Coaching

As these words indicate, this is the coaching of leaders, usually in a 1-on-1 setting, either in person or virtually. There are plenty of situations to be discussed as well as unlimited skills and behaviors a leader can cultivate with the help of a coach. Leaders at all levels can be coached, but usually at the highest levels this is called Executive Coaching, meaning “the coaching of executives.” However, some mid-managers aspiring to be upper-level leaders engage an Executive Coach to help them develop the skills desired that open the way to such roles. There are several globally recognized coaching certification organizations, including the ICF (Associate, Professional and Master levels) and the Co-Active® Training Institute (CTI).

Life Coaching

These 1-on-1 sessions focus on personal development not necessarily tied to professional aspirations, although growth might impact them. This differs from therapy in that the coach is not seeking to delve into the past for the purpose of healing. While past incidents might come up in conversation with the coach, the focus—as with all types of coaching—is future-focused. The coachee identifies a desired life goal or presents a situation they are seeking to work through and engages a coach to help them set a plan to make progress. If a past issue surfaces and is seen to be holding the person back in a significant way, it is not unusual that the coaching is suspended for a time so the person can meet with a therapist or counselor, then return later to the coach to continue with life coaching.


Mentors have knowledge and experience from which the mentee wants to benefit. The focus in mentoring is often behaviors, experiences and approach while coaching often focuses on developing skills, actions and plans. Mentors are often engaged over a lengthy period (years) because what they pass on takes months if not years to absorb and adopt. Coaches are often engaged over months, or perhaps a year, unless the focus of the coaching is completed or changes so that a new agreement is set. It is possible to have a few mentors at once—for example, a woman might have mentors who speak concurrently and separately to her growth for entrepreneurship, motherhood and leadership—but normally one coach is engaged at a time.

Career Coach

This title also declares the purpose. A career coach can help clarify professional goals and objectives, assist with interview preparation for new jobs or internal promotion or assist in identifying and cultivating skills and behaviors necessary for “moving to the next level.” The coach might be retained until a full transition is made to the new role and the coachee is settled into leadership of their new team.

Additional Types of Coaching

Other types of coaching available also have titles that indicate the topic and purpose of the sessions:

  • Personal coach, relationship and family coach
  • Health and wellness coach, fitness coach
  • Mental health coach (not to be confused with or replace certified medical care)
  • Spiritual coach
  • Business coach, finance coach, sales coach

What Are Coaches?

While many coaches specialize in certain areas of expertise, it is not unusual for a coach to touch on multiple areas with their coachee. It must be stated, however, that coaches are not consultants.

Coaches are, however, committed to “unconditional positive regard.” That means we are for you, we believe you have all you need inside you to be successful in your endeavors, and we will do our best to help you uncover all the resources and possible paths that can lead to you fulfilling the desires and dreams of greatness that are within you.


  1. Which type of coach grabbed your attention in this short exposé? What restless desire or unrealized dream within you connects with this type of coach?
  2. “Get Googling” and see what is out there for you! Use this link to the ICF’s “Find a Coach” page for starters:

1ICF Member Update (email, January 2021).

2ICF Global Coaching Study. International Coaching Federation website. Accessed March 3, 2021.