If you're in a corporate setting there are three types of coaching to consider.
This brain blip occurred as I was exchanging emails about probing questions, a discussion that's been ongoing here as well as in a section of the Coaching For Managers eGuide.
Skills Coaching: Is the issue about specific skills such as selling, presenting, dealing with customers, handling media inquiries etc.? If so, the solution will have a training element involved. The coach will need content expertise to train in skill-building while coaching to ensure the agreed level of proficiency. This isn't a situation where a series of reflective questions are helpful. After all, the person being coached doesn't know what (s)he doesn't know.
Performance Coaching: This is what we usually see when it's time to help improve someone's performance in a current organizational role. Often, the desired improvement comes as a result of a 360-degree feedback process or a team building session. Performance Coaching is normally equated with acquiring or sharpening specific behaviors or eliminating others that are inhibiting effectiveness. Questioning is an integral part of the process and may be supplemented with suggestions such as, "Here are two or three ways you could approach this."
Developmental Coaching: Reflective learning is the order of the day here. The objective is to enable the client/executive to gain increased self-perspective and awareness, especially when it comes to leadership activities in the organization. Developmental coaching may, quite literally, consist only of questions. It's the responsibility of the one being coached to connect the heart and mind; then, examine themselves in the context of the organizational systems and their relationships to and with them.
For managers and professionals involved in development, it's a good idea to have a quick way to determine the level--and kind--of coaching support that will be most effective.