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Empathy, Accountability, Growth mindset, and Holistic Approaches

On a sultry September morning back in 2002, I awoke from a troubled sleep with an uncomfortable feeling gnawing away at me. I’d just completed a Coaching Course and had been encouraged to choose from one of the four coaching styles we’d been studying.

Not to be confused with coaching models such as the Grow model, the What or SMART models. I’m referring to the style adopted by the Coach.

The Power of Empathy in Coaching

Empathy, a foundational element in coaching, transcends mere understanding; it involves creating a safe space for clients to express their feelings and concerns openly. Empathetic coaches emphasise the importance of embracing vulnerability and authenticity. This approach fosters an environment in which individuals explore their fears, challenges, and aspirations without judgment.

Accountability in Coaching

Accountability Coaches encourage setting goals and progress tracking, taking responsibility for actions. This approach is also instrumental in leadership, where trust is the bedrock of effective teamwork. Coaches will encourage their clients to set clear goals and to establish transparent and attainable objectives by a given time. You are no doubt familiar with the SMART acronym i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and time-bound.

The Growth Mindset Approach

emphasises personal growth, resilience, and self-improvement. The Coach encourages leaders to adopt a Growth mindset to overcome challenges and achieve success by embracing challenges and viewing them as opportunities for learning and growth, rather than as obstacles.

Holistic Coaching

Holistic coaching is an approach that considers all aspects of an individual’s life, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Coaches who follow this style observe the interrelation between things and strive to create a state of balance and harmony.

Coaching & Leadership

Those of you in leadership roles will have noted these so-called coaching styles are also required skills (and more) for effective leaders.

Coaching and leadership are dynamic fields influenced by diverse coaching and leadership styles. This being the case, how can a Coach, particularly an Executive Coach, who is working with a leader possessing these skills, not have all of them themselves?

And that is why, after my troubled sleep, I was uncomfortable about choosing a style of Coaching when these were not ‘styles’ but the very skills needed in my Coaching toolbox. I found some better training and upped my coaching skills.


By adopting the principles of empathy, accountability, holism, or a Growth Mindset, coaches can tailor their approaches according to the needs of their clients, and not themselves.  

Which of these styles resonate with you and Why?