How many coaching styles are there, and how to find the perfect coach for your needs

We hear parents say, “My kid is struggling with studies in school, sports, meeting teacher’s expectations, friends, social skills, behavior, health, and sometimes even with parents. It breaks the parent’s hearts to see their kid go through a difficult phase.


Unfortunately, even though their parents deeply love them, many kids are not happy, and life seems complicated and difficult to them. As a result, their parents struggle to motivate the kids even to do their everyday tasks. But sometimes, kids are not able to handle the moment-to-moment changes and do not realize how to take the advice, support, care, and wisdom that their parents would like to give them. Emotional awareness and the ability to handle feelings will determine success and happiness in life, including family relationships.


With the Internet around our lives, it is not difficult to find the right tool which will guide us in helping our children. However, when it comes to something concerning our children, we have to be 100% sure about what we are getting into. If we just rewind the time in our lives before the Internet hit us, if you heard anyone say the word “coach/mentor,” you would always associate him/her with some sport. In the 21st century, the word coach/mentor means something else.


Dr. Gottman, a renowned professor in psychology, has spent over forty years researching, and his studies involved interesting conversations with parents about their marriages and reactions to their children’s emotional experiences. He concluded that most parents fall into two categories: those who give their children an insight into the world of emotion and those who do not. With both parents working, the stress levels increase, and the patience level decreases. A coach/mentor comes in as a saving grace and helps nurture our children.


Coaches can be very influential in the lives of children. For example, if you ask a group of adults to recall any memory from their childhood. Many of them will remember a sport where a coach would encourage and motivate them to go ahead and push themselves harder. Even after many years, it does make you emotional and nostalgic. But, if you ask them about any memory from the classroom, they will not be able to recall it immediately.


These days we have coaches/mentors for all skills. We have compiled a list of some, which will give you an insight into who these coaches are and where we find them.


Sport-related Coaching


What are the different Coaching Styles? Coaches may have a preferred coaching style, usually based on their personality. However, we need to be adaptable and be able to use different styles according to the situation.

For coaches related to sports, the two main styles are:


  • Autocratic’ – ‘Bossy’ – ‘Authoritarian’
  • ‘Democratic’ – ‘Guider’ – ‘Distant yet approachable’


  1. ‘Autocratic’ is where the coach makes all the decisions, and the participants do what they are told. This coach will be a strong disciplinarian and likes to be in control.
  2. ‘Democratic’ – this involves shared decision-making. This coach will guide participants toward selecting and achieving their goals. He/She provides leadership in the form of positive guidance.

Both coaching styles have advantages and disadvantages. Both styles have a mix of qualities such as leadership, management, enthusiasm, and good communication. And finally, we see that coaching varies for different skill levels, ages, and abilities.

It is likewise crucial for coaches to use different styles because players respond differently. It is essential to try to work with players and to keep their enthusiasm and motivation high. This is possible if the coach is flexible in their approach and can change styles within a session, appropriate to the situation and the needs of the players. Coaches should be able to change styles and know what they are doing for the betterment of the team/individual.

whistle with its string forming a question mark to highlight the question about coaching styles.
Whistle with its string forming a question mark to highlight the question about coaching styles. Illustration by Rohan Mitchell.

Today, aside from sports activities, we have coaches for different elements of life.

Business Coaching


  • Provides executive coaching (for seniors)
  • Business coaching for startups (for entrepreneurs)
  • Management coaching (for team leaders)
  • Staff coaching (for teams)
  • Interview coaching (for potential employees)



In addition to the above situations, a business coach will be able to help you if-


  1. You want to develop further public speaking skills
  2. You want to improve your communication skills
  3. You want to start a new business
  4. You need help managing a team
  5. You need to make critical changes and decisions
  6. You need help with work/life balance
a megaphone with a flowing motivational hand offering support to a person sitting in a meditative pose dressed in a business suit.
A megaphone with a flowing motivational hand offering support to a person sitting in a meditative pose dressed in a business suit. Illustration by Rohan Mitchell.

Life Coaching (Personal development)


Confidence and self-belief come from positive thinking, talking to others, and sometimes training. We often struggle to find the perfect balance between a positive attitude and good communication. Our confidence and self-belief can be reflected in our behavior, mood, and the way we carry ourselves. People who lack self-belief and self-confidence will often find that certain areas of their lives will be affected. We must start taking action to ensure the negative environment starts becoming positive.

Life coaches come with the tools and techniques to help you develop your confidence and self-belief. Confidence coaching is meant to help you raise your mental self and self-esteem. Life coaches do have the ability to help you challenge your inhibitions and thoughts that you have about yourself, support your confidence and help you create a positive mental self-image.

These days we have Life coaches for families and youth as well.


Family Coaching


“Family is the most important thing in the world.” Each family is different and has their share of struggles and challenges. The challenges that a family might face-

  • Newly married challenges
  • Poor communication
  • New parents
  • School dropouts
  • Teenage challenges
  • Stress and Anger management
  • Work-life balance

Happy and peaceful family life can be achieved by having the right balance of empathy, respect, communication, and understanding.


Youth coaching (Teenage coaching)


When you are a teenager, you are at a vulnerable stage of life. You go with an instinct and sometimes lack the maturity to see what the repercussions will be of the decisions you have taken. Teenagers are dealing with body change and brain changes. Sometimes young people can feel like they are stuck inside a tunnel in which there is no one light the way. Their expectations of themselves and the pressures of fitting in, growing up, and planning a future can make it hard for them to cope.


Spiritual coaching


Many people confuse spirituality with religion. Spirituality means finding a higher purpose in your life. So what makes a Spiritual coach different from other Life coaches? Spiritual coaching puts life into the context of living it, enjoying the journey, accepting certain situations in life, and how to move on with the help of connecting with your inner potential of yourself. This enables you to draw on inner resources you didn’t even know you had to transform. Spiritual coaching looks at forces both within and without to help you get there. The aim is to create a balance between the outside world and your inner resources with the flow of the universe to realize your goals and transformation.



Career Coaching


It’s no secret that it’s still a tough job market. With the number of options available career-wise, it can get very confusing for the youth and adults sometimes. These days several certified professionals will help make your search a bit easier. These days many schools and colleges hire career coaches, or you can even call them career counselors, who help students make informed career decisions. Most students and sometimes even adults are unsure about their career goals, and so that is when a Career coach will work closely with you in understanding you, your skills, passion and help you create a plan. Career coaching will allow you to explore who you are and what you really want from your work.

A Career coach will help you:

  • Understand you, your skills, and your passions
  • Create an action plan to achieve your goals
  • A guided and structured approach
  • Help you overcome the obstacles which hold you back
  • Help in writing your CV
  • Working out something which will make you truly happy

So, instead of making our children perfect, let us perfect our relationship with them. A little praise goes a long way. Make time to praise your child’s strong points, for example, their determination, accomplishments, and strengths. Affirmations and your belief in them will help in their nurturing process in the long run. You will bring out the best in them!!!


Originally published in Zealousness Issue 6 (2017).



  1. “Coaching Styles | Life Coaching Approaches – Life Coach Directory.” n.d. Accessed February 4, 2023.
  2.  “What Is Executive Coaching | Executive Coaching Topics & Types.” CO2 Partners. April 29, 2013.





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