Home » Blog » 8 Roles of A Coach

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.” – William Shakespeare, As You Like It (Act 2, Scene 7)

Life is a journey, and throughout this journey, we engage in a variety of roles. Like Shakespeare said, we are merely players, playing many parts in our life till we have our final exit. We have a myriad of obligations and for all of us, there seems to be some serious juggling taking place.

I am a writer, a partner, a daughter, a sister, a coworker, a leader, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and the list goes on and on. Phew!

But guess what? The roles we perform don’t define us. In actuality, we are the light that breathes life into every soul in the dance we refer to as life. You are not the role that you play but rather the role you play is a part of you. Meaning that these roles don’t define us as who we are. We are in reality our actual selves just wearing a different hat (role) at different times.

We embrace the “attributes” that we think these jobs/roles ought to have. However, when you are completely honest with yourself (and the differences between you and any given role may be extremely subtle), you will be able to recognise “how” and “when” you play these roles and begin to slightly merge them together so that you can transition from one role into another… one at a time!

I know these all can seem a bit more overwhelming but bear with me because this is where it gets interesting. Let’s start with a simple exercise to explain this a little better. Take a piece of paper and write down all the roles you have. Write down your actions, requirements, frequency of occurrence, and how you act in your particular role now. See any differences? Describe them. You would know the answer.

Similarly, a coach is not just a person there to sit with you for an hour and encourage you. A coach is much more than its definition. Being a coach requires changing into various nurturing roles. Here is how we view them as 8-in-1 person. 

To begin with, we first need to understand who is a coach. Many people have many definitions but in simplest words, a coach is an individual who helps people unlock their personal potential through the use of a coaching conversation. 

But pause for a moment and read carefully, not on a surface level but mindfully, you will notice that a coach is much more than just a coach, just like we play many roles, a coach has many roles too. He is a teacher, a guide, a facilitator, a partner, an investigator, a reflector, a contractor, and above all a master. Don’t believe me, let’s see.

The Teacher

A teacher is someone who helps others learn new things. He is the one who shares knowledge and insights and motivates their students to achieve their goals and attain success. Similar to a teacher, a coach provides the client with knowledge, language, and information that the client is not easily able to get on their own.

In order to assist the client, and understand his position and possibilities within it more clearly and expansively, the Teacher offers these models, tools for interpretation, and perspectives to the coachee. The teacher pushes the client’s thought process by urging them to consider their presumptions and explore their reasons. Isn’t this the role of the teacher, teaching you, assisting you, and being the beacon of knowledge.

But the most important thing to note is that it is not the coach’s intention to persuade the client to take a certain course of action; rather, the coach serves as a teacher who helps the client see a particular path or set of options. The teacher only offers the distinctions, and resources necessary for a client to view the circumstance in a different light. It’s totalyl up to the coachee/the client to decide whether he wants them and wants to use them.

The Guide

A guide is someone who takes the lead and assists people in reaching a destination. Similarly, the role of the Guide as a coach is to suggest alternate courses of action and motivate the client to act. Don’t believe me. Let’s see. 

The Guide assists a client in making a commitment to taking action that will actually bring about change. When a client is hesitant to commit, uncertain, or just at a loss, the job of a Guide can be incredibly useful. He comes into play and empowers the coachee to commit to the action and come out of the uncertainty. At its most directive, the Guide’s function includes advising particular courses of action.

The Facilitator

Next is the facilitator. According to Wikipedia, a facilitator is a person who helps a group of people to work together better, understand their common objectives, and plan how to achieve these objectives. Isn’t that the role of a coach too?

A coach during the coaching process assists the client/clients (in case of team coaching) in driving out ways to resolve conflict and work together as a group. He facilitates them with a sense of purpose so that they understand their objectives and work towards the same. 

Another important feature of a facilitator is to establish collaboration and achieve synergy

‘content neutral’ party who does not take sides but opens up our space where we build up the empathy for the other person to understand their side.

The Partner

Even though ICF makes it quite clear that a coach should not have any relations with the client, especially that of a partner, oftentimes the coach takes up and operates from a space of being our partner. 

In his role as the client’s partner, the coach concentrates on creating a win-win structure for their relationship and on upholding it. The Partner embodies the coach’s dedication to the client’s success and is in charge of upholding the mutual respect and trust that has been established. One important thing to note is that a coach as a partner just presumes the role of a partner and is in no way romantically involved with the coachee.

The coach approaches the client and stands by their side as they collaborate closely to build a successful connection. The Master’s condition of presence, compassion, acceptance, and respect with and for the client helps to preserve the coaching space.

The Investigator

The investigator’s purpose is to make inquiries. The investigator highlights the coach’s role for the reason that coaching is fundamentally about asking relevant questions. Sounds similar! Let’s see.

The goal of the Investigator’s questions is to aid the client in developing a deeper understanding, not to provide information for the coach to use in making recommendations. Speaking in the role of the Investigator, the coach pushes the client to reconsider the issue, define what he or she wants, and decide what can be done to move these results closer to reality. 

Questioning becomes a major part of the coaching process. The most important aspect of a coach is that he asks proper questions and asks them at the right time. In this capacity, the coach and the client are learning partners since both benefits from the inquiries made. 

The Reflector

As the Reflector, the coach enables the client to improve his own power to manage himself and take into account the effects of the decisions he takes while giving him honest and timely feedback.  

By holding the role of the Reflector, the coach acts as a mirror for the client, offering feedback and encourag­ing the client to get input from other people as well. The coach encourages the client to become more self-aware of the options available to them and the outcomes of those options. The Reflector also helps the client identify ways to increase self-awareness and encourages them to do so.

The Contractor

Life’s turbulence and demands undermine our best intentions for change. Be it a leader, a CEO or even an employee. Building traction for genuine and long-lasting change can be greatly aided by having an accountability partner who can help us create explicit commitments and act as a kind but firm advocate for fulfilling these commitments.

For the client, the Contractor develops this psychological and behavioural accountability. Using this, the coach creates with the client implementation and follow-through mechanisms. These frameworks aid the client in implementing the work done during the coaching conversation.

The Contractor can be viewed as a conduit between the client’s desire to undergo change and the steps necessary to make that happen. The Contractor helps the client anchor these new possibilities in specific action steps that alter the situation on the ground when the coaching process generates new energy and new opportunities.

The Master

In the end, comes the master. And by a master, we don’t mean the MCC’s (Master Certified Coach) but the masters who have obtained the highest positioning of the coaches. A mastery is someone who combines knowledge and practice with present-moment focus. The character trait we associate with those we refer to as Masters is also the one we associate with “great leaders” or those who are said to have “leadership presence.”

The Master is the overarching role that encompasses and upholds all the others. The Master is the source from which all other things are born. A master has done the inner work to understand who she is and to gain the ability to use her talents in a thoughtful, artistic, and efficient manner. The coach’s consciousness and presence are evoked by the Master. The Master is a method of being rather than just something to do. 

The Master is the watchful, cognizant portion of the mind that understands the needs of the client, when to change roles to accommodate those demands, and how to remain present and as unencumbered by our own training as is humanly feasible.

The Master weaves the coaching process with mindfulness and establishes a real co-explorational relationship between ourselves and our clients. In true essence, this is where coaching begins and coaching ends.

Stepping Into Your Journey Towards Mastery

Even though I gave eight roles of a coach, the essence of the whole thing lies in the journey that you are going to make from being a coach, not a master coach, not an MCC, a master coach. There are going to be some stones on the way but trust me and trust the process you are going to make it there. The key is to be fully present meaning being fully engaged with the client.

So, there is no hard and fast route that is going to take you there but there are certain aspects that a master coach is bound to have. Some of them are as follows.

  • Maintaining self-awareness 
  •  Listening with focus and presence 
  •  Modeling learning and growth 
  •  Embracing the client with compassion and respect 
  •  Choosing which of the operational roles to use at a given time.

So, get ready, pave your way and reach your goal of being the master who will open up the radiance to new possibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 8 roles of a coach?

The 8 roles of a coach are:

The teacher, the facilitator, the guide, the investigator, the contractor, the partner, the reflector and the master.

Who is a coach?

Many individuals have different ideas about what a coach is, but in the simplest terms, a coach is someone who uses coaching conversations to help others realise their own potential.

How is a coach as a facilitator?

When team coaching is involved, a coach helps the client(s) find methods to get along with one another and overcome conflicts during the coaching process. He gives people a sense of direction so they may identify their goals and work toward them.

How is a coach as a guide?

A client’s commitment to taking action that would genuinely effect change is helped by the guide. The role of a Guide can be quite helpful when a client is afraid to commit, uncertain, or plain lost. He steps in and gives the coachee the confidence to commit to the action and overcome uncertainty. At its most directive, the Guide’s role is recommending specific actions.

How is a coach as a teacher?

The expertise, vocabulary, and information that a coach gives to a client are things the customer would find difficult to acquire on their own. The Teacher provides the coachee with these models, tools for interpretation, and viewpoints in order to help the client and help him comprehend his position and options within it more clearly and expansively. The instructor challenges the student’s assumptions and encourages them to investigate their motivations. Isn’t this what a teacher does? They instruct you, help you, and serve as a source of knowledge.