Coaching and Business Glossary

Coaching Glossary

This Coaching Glossary, also known as Coaching Vocabulary or Coaching Terms, is an alphabetical list of terms used in Coaching with the definitions or explanations for those terms.

This Coaching Glossary includes terms within this website and the tools offered that are either newly introduced, uncommon, or specialized. The glossary contains explanations of concepts relevant to Coaching.

Glossary of Coaching Terms


  • Action That – To take action and put something into practice
  • Alliances – In a Coaching context, an alliance is a relationship among people or groups that work together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not an explicit agreement has been made. Alliances can be created in many settings, including peer-to-peer, team, political and business alliances.
  • Ambition – A passionate or inspiring objective. Can be set even while not having the means necessary for its achievement. Knowing how to set high ambitions in the absence of means is part of a leader’s characteristics.
  • Assessment – The task of understanding the goals and circumstances of an individual ou group. Assessments by a Coach may measure strengths and skills or may identify areas for improvement.
  • Autonomy – In developmental psychology, autonomy is the capacity to make an informed, uncoerced decision. Autonomy, from a human resources perspective, denotes a relatively high level of discretion granted to an employee in his or her work. In such cases, autonomy is known to generally increase job satisfaction.
  • Awareness – An assessment of how cognizant an individual is of their own circumstances or development needs. Awareness of one’s self and development needs is essential for positive coaching outcomes.
  • Awareness Training – Training that allows an individual to develop a greater understanding of themselves and their circumstances.


  • Baked In – When something is “baked in” it implies that it is not possible to remove.
    • Refers to something that is built-in or inseparably included.
  • Bandwidth – Availability
    • Do you or your business have the capacity for what is proposed?
  • Beliefs – Belief is the attitude that something is true.
    • Philosophers use the term “belief” to refer to personal attitudes associated with true or false ideas and concepts. Values and beliefs play a major role in coaching.
  • Benchmark – Measuring against
    • Benchmarking is a process of measuring the performance against another the best or “best in class.” The point of benchmarking is to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Best Practice – Tried and tested methodology or process
    • A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives. Also refers to a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements.
  • Biodata – In South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, biodata is the term sometimes used in place of a résumé.
  • Blue Sky Thinking – Idealistic or visionary or creative ideas
    • Blue sky thinking refers to brainstorming to idea generation, ideas that do not need to be grounded in reality.
  • Boil the Ocean – The act of undertaking a large and impractical task
    • Use to describe that act of taking on tasks which will consume significant resources and time. Can also refer to impossible or impractical tasks.
  • Bottleneck – Where a process is held up
    • A bottleneck is one part of a chain of processes, that is limiting the desired outcomes.
  • Buck the Trend – To follow a course of action against the prevailing trends.
  • Build Capacity – Take actions which increase what can be achieved in the future.
  • Business Coaching – focuses on helping business leaders to advance towards specific professional goals.
    • Gaols may include strategic skills, planning skills, communication skills, performance management, and organizational effectiveness. Coaching can focus on many development areas including the development of executive presence, enhanced strategic thinking, effectively dealing with conflict, and with building an effective team.
  • Business Plan – A business plan is a formal written document containing business goals, the methods on how these goals can be attained, and the time frame within which these goals need to be achieved.
    • A Business Plan describes the nature of the business, background information on the organization, the organization’s financial projections, and the strategies it intends to implement to achieve the stated targets. In its entirety, this document serves as a road map that provides direction to the business.


  • Career Coaching – Focuses on work and career to help individuals manage their journey through learning and work. This can include career exploration, making career choices, managing career changes, lifelong career development and dealing with other career-related issues.
  • Circle Back – Postpone a topic of discussion to be discussed later
  • Circle the wagons – Defensive strategy to provide time to create a better solution or outcome.
  • Coach – A professional who supports, encourages nurtures and pushes their client to become the person they aspire to be. A coach can play a vital role in self-development.
  • Coachable – To be open to change and ready to identify personal weaknesses or blind spots, and then to work hard to develop and improve towards your goals.
  • Coachee – An individual who has made the decision to improve themselves personally and professionally. They use a coach, to work together towards an agreed goal.
  • Coaching – The journey undertaken by the Coachee and Coach, using a coaching process to guide individuals to discover and reach their full potential.
  • Coaching Relationship – The relationship between the coach and the coachee, based on trust, respect, honesty, support, and goal-setting.
  • Conflict Management – Conflict Management is the process of limiting the negative aspects of conflict while increasing the positive aspects of the conflict.
    • Conflict Management can enhance learning and group outcomes, including effectiveness and performance.
    • Properly managed conflict can improve group outcomes.
  • Contingent Search – Contingent search firms are remunerated only upon the successful completion of the executive search and recruitment process, typically when the candidate accepts the position.
    • These recruiters may earn from 10% to 35% of the candidate’s first-year base salary or total remuneration as a hiring fee. The fee may also be calculated to include the candidate’s median or expected first-year bonus payout. The fee is paid by the hiring company.
  • Corporate Coaching – A particular style of coaching that provides guidance on how to meet the organizational goals of a specific Corporate agenda or culture.
  • Create the storyboard – Outline what the solution will look like
  • Cross-Functional – Works across multiple functions in an organization
    • A cross-functional team is a group of people with different functional expertise working toward a common goal.
  • Customer-Centric – The customer is the main focus
    • Customer-centric is a way of doing business that focuses on the customer having a positive customer experience.
  • Cutting Edge – Up to date with the latest new methods
    • Someone or something that is the latest, greatest and newest.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) – The Curriculum Vitae is used for employment purposes in the UK and in other European countries. It is similar to a résumé, but usually a shorter, summary version of one’s education and experience than to the longer and more detailed Resume that is sometimes used in the U.S.


  • Dashboard – Collection of key indicators
    • A dashboard provides at-a-glance the key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to a particular objective or business process. Can also mean a “progress report”.
  • Deliverables – Finished product or outcome
    • A deliverable is a tangible or intangible outcome or good or service produced as a result of a project.
  • DiSC Assessment – DISC is a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory, which centers on four different personality traits which are currently Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C). This theory has been developed into a behavioral assessment tool.
    • The DiSC Assessment is an assessment tool used to improve awareness, productivity, teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.
    • The DiSC acronym has also been labeled as Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance, which are four general human behaviors.
  • Downsize – Reduction in the number of employees
    • Downsizing is the reduction of a company’s labor force through the elimination of workers or divisions. Downsizing is usually associated with economic downturns and failing or changing businesses
  • Deep Dive – Get into the detail
  • Drill down – Investigate or explore in-depth and detail


  • End-user – An end-user is the person who ultimately uses or is intended to ultimately use a product or service.
  • Executive Coaching – focuses on senior leaders or business owners and helps them become coaches for their team members to reach higher levels of performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth, and career development. Research studies suggest that executive coaching has positive effects on workplace performance.
  • Executive Search – Executive search, informally called headhunting, is a specialized recruitment service which organizations pay to seek out and recruit highly qualified candidates for senior-level and executive jobs.
  • Executive Search Firm – An executive search firm may act as an intermediary to contact individuals and determine if they might be interested in moving to a new employer. The executive search firm may also carry out initial screening of the candidate, negotiations on remuneration and benefits, and preparing the employment contract.


  • Flogging a Dead Horse – Wasting effort or resources


  • Golden Handshake – A high payment for termination
  • Golden Parachute – Contract clause rewarding an executive if the termination is due to corporate takeover or merger.


  • Headhunting – Headhunters seek out and recruit senior-level executive or specialized positions for organizations for which there is strong competition in the job market for the top talent. The method usually involves commissioning a third-party organization, typically an executive search firm, but possibly a standalone consultant or consulting firm, to research the availability of suitably qualified candidates working for competitors or related businesses or organizations.
  • Hard Skills – The skills needed to perform a specific job where the job requirements are clearly defined and set out in terms of actions to be taken and expected outcomes.
  • Human Capital – The knowledge, skills, attitudes, and competencies of the employees within an organization. It is capital owned by individuals and ultimately if it is not captured in an information system or automated process, or successors trained, then when the individuals leave, the organization loses their human capital.


  • International Coach Federation (ICF) – The International Coach Federation is dedicated to professional coaching with over 30,000 members in 140 countries.
    • Founded in 1995, ICF campaigns worldwide for professional standards within the coaching profession, and provides independent certification for professional coaches and coach training programs.
  • Icebreakers – Used by leaders, trainers, and facilitators at the start of a course, workshop or event, designed to encourage participation and overcome any nervousness or awkwardness.
  • Intuition – An instinctive ‘gut’ feeling that leads to immediate understanding and drives decision-making without conscious or analytic reasoning.
  • Informal Learning – Informal learning means that the person learning sets their own learning objectives and learning style as opposed to formal learning with structured learning objectives and fixed learning processes.


  • Job Description – A formal statement of duties and requirements for a defined role.
    • Job Descriptions can include role purpose, main responsibilities, Key Performance Indicators, knowledge, skills and qualifications required.
  • Job Interview Coach – A job interview is an interview consisting of a conversation between a job applicant and a representative of an employer which is conducted to assess whether the applicant should be hired.
    • Interviews are one of the most common paths for employee selection. Interviews vary in the extent to which the questions are structured, from a totally unstructured and free-wheeling conversation to a structured interview in which an applicant is asked a predetermined list of questions in a specified order.
  • Job Search Coach – A Coach can support a coachee in their act of looking for employment, due to unemployment, discontent with a current position, or a desire for a better position.
    • Coaching services can include CV or resume preparation, interview skills, networking skills, contract negotiations and the full process of securing a new job.
  • Johari Window – The Johari window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others.


  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) – The measurement indicators that measure individual, business and or group performance.


  • Leadership Coaching – Focuses on senior leaders or business owners and helps them to reach higher levels of performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth, and career development.
  • LinkedIn Coach – A LinkedIn Coach can help coachees to learn how to understand social media and use LinkedIn as ab effective tool. LinkedIn can be used as a business strategy for business generation, recruitment, or marketing.
  • Low-hanging fruit – An action that has the greatest positive effect for the least effort.
  • Lay-off – Redundancies on a large scale


  • Mentor – A experienced and trusted adviser.
    • A Mentor shares knowledge, advice, and resources to support the goals of a specific mentoring relationship. A mentor may share information about their own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling.
  • Mentoring – The process of providing support to individuals seeking to grow, personally and as a business person or a leader.
    • Organizational Mentoring programs generally pairs of individuals who share similar interests to facilitate greater success.
  • Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.
    • When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Mindfulness can be developed through the practice of meditation and through other training.
  • Milestone – A significant stage or event in the development of a project or initiative.
    • The stages into which a project is divided for monitoring and measurement of performance or results.
  • Move the goalposts – To change the criteria for success
  • Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator is an introspective self-report questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions.


  • Needs Analysis – A formal process used to determine training needs.
    • Needs are determined by reviewing work tasks, performance factors and objectives, and defining training objectives and recommendations.


  • One button to push – Reduced complexity and simplification
  • Operational excellence – Sustainable improvements for key performance metrics


  • Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit – to target the easiest options
  • Pull the Plug – Withdraw support from a project or idea
  • Pushing the Envelope – Going outside the normal boundaries to achieve an objective
  • Put this on your radar – To consider a topic or suggestion


  • Quiz – A short test to measure achievements and competence on specific training outcomes.


  • Résumé – A résumé is a document used by a person to present their background, skills, and accomplishments. Résumés can be used for a variety of reasons, but most often they are used to secure new employment or a promotion
  • Run it up the flagpole – Moving a project or idea up the organizational structure of authority for feedback.


  • Sales Coaching – A Coach works with a salesperson, sales leader or business owner to increase their sales, by improving their sales processes including prospecting, lead generation, dealing with objectives, negotiating and closing skills.
    • A Coach will ask questions to help identify sales challenges and brainstorm possible improvements. The Coach will help the coachee to create ways to overcome barriers to sales and help them create the motivation to perform their tasks and overcome call reluctance and other barriers.
  • Scalability – A system, process, or department, that has the ability to grow and manage increased demand.
  • Shortlist – In the recruitment process, a shortlist consists of qualified candidates who match the client’s requirements.
  • Silo – A system, process, or department, that operates in isolation from others.
  • Silver Bullet – One solution to a challenge
  • Stakeholders – Group or set of individuals affected by the outcome of a decision
  • Strategic Planning – Strategic planning is a process of defining a strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy.
    • Strategic planning is an important aspect of strategic management for organizations, teams, and individuals. With an identified objective, a tactical approach to business or personal growth can be formulated.


  • Talent – Employees or team members that possess more talent or potential than any other members.
  • Thousand-foot view – Highest level overviewSeeing the “big picture” of a project or your career, a challenge or opportunity.
  • Time Management – Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.
    • Time Management involves juggling various demands relating to work, social life, family, hobbies, personal interests, health and other commitments with the finiteness of time. Using time effectively is focused on spending and managing activities to an allocated time and priority.
  • Trim the Fat – Cut budgets, remove avoidable costs
  • Table the Conversation – Reconvene at a later time to continue the discussion of a specific topic
  • Touch Base – To catchup and discuss progress or obtain an update of a situation
  • Touch Base Offline – To meet and talk face-to-face


  • Under-pinning – The foundations of an idea, which helps or supports a plan
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Any aspect of an object or service that uniquely differentiates it from similar options.
  • Unique Value Proposition – The value in something that uniquely differentiates it from other options.


  • Values – Value are what is considered important in life, what makes life worth living.
    • Values also guide decisions about what is right or wrong in moral terms. There are different kinds of values such as social, personal, moral, cultural, business values and many more. Values and beliefs play a major role in coaching.


  • Work-Life Balance – Work-life balance is a concept that describes the mix of one’s time and energy between work and other important aspects of their life.
    • People whose needs for work-life balance are achieved, tend to be more motivated and productive.
  • Win-Win Solution – An outcome that makes everyone happy
    • A solution that provides benefits for all parties involved.


  • 360-Degree Feedback – A 360-degree feedback is a process through which feedback from an employee’s subordinates, colleagues, and supervisors, as well as a self-evaluation by the employee themselves, are gathered.
    • Feedback from external sources who interact with the employee, such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders can also be included.

Career, Business, and Leadership Success

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