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What is a coach?

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

It is interesting to hear people's replies to this question. We noticed that there clearly is some mix-up, so we are clearing this up.


Simply, a coach is like a friend that believes in their client, and does not ‘dish out’ advise.


Sir John Whitmore says ‘coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.’


Coaching provides the environment in which the client can feel safe and ‘be at home’.

A home that is understanding, mindful, safe.


Coaching is not

  • giving advise

  • talking more than listening

  • feeling responsible for the client

  • interrupting the client

  • solving the client’s problems

  • shaming

  • disagreeing

  • Persuading


Coach and client relationship

Coaching believes the client has ALL the answers for their own life. These answers lie deep within the person. The coach in a way elicits these answers from within the client, this can seem like the client 'untangling some knots' with support from their coach.




People generally do not like being told what to do.

Those who like being told what to do tend to lack autonomy. They may have grown up in an environment where they had parents that micro-managed, they may have grown up in an environment where dad was an angry man, and therefore he/she did not feel safe to express their true nature.


A coach gets to know their client’s story to understand their client. The coach focuses on what is right not what is wrong in their client. A coach fosters possibilities, not solves problems. A coach co-discovers the answers with their client not has the answers for their client.


In essence the coach holds a space for their client to become REALLY curious about themselves in a space where they can explore all possibilities in a safe environment. This can bring positive change without many words from the coach.


At the New School of Nutrition, we teach our students to be the client as well as the coach in their sessions. The practical side of teaching and learning is key at the New School.


If we are not curious about ourselves, curious about our own lives, curious about our inner and outer world, can we elicit such curiosity in our clients?




The role of the coach is one that honours the individual

The coach provides that inner reflective space where the answers lie within the client to unlock their potential.


Role of coach

We equip our students with various tools, some call them models to help them as coaches. We integrate various tools such as mindfulness, listening with eyes and ears, cognitive behavioural coaching, transactional analysis, stress management etc.


Note a coach does not

  • give advise

  • threaten

  • tells what to do

  • disagrees

  • judges

  • sympathises

  • persuades

  • labels

  • distract

  • shame


A great coach by their presence in the session plays a key role in the development of their client without interference but by accepting their client is OK as they are. In this space the client does not have to be someone else, or feel judged, uncomfortable, defensive, because the coach accepts them as they are. The client drops all these ‘coping strategies’ because they are accepted as they are.


When a client is in this respectful healing safe space the psychodynamic relationship between the coach and client is the vital ingredient.


Have you ever seen a coach? How did you feel?


To Wholeness!


From the team at the New School Of Nutritional Medicine.


The New School of Nutritional Medicine, has an accredited nutrition course as well as an accredited life coaching course. The integrated diploma course is both in Nutritional Medicine and in Life coaching.



Learn about the Founder & Principal of the New School of Nutritional Medicine, Dr Khush Mark PhD HERE.






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