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Coaching Definitions

What exactly is coaching?

Not all coaching is created equal and therefore, not all coaching produces the same results.

There are several types of coaching, each suited to a specific context and each capable of producing a specific outcome. It’s important for you to select the appropriate coaching structure under certain circumstances if you want to achieve your desired outcome. Here is what I mean.

The STCerri International “Expert Coaching” is a coaching process in which the desired outcome is the acquisition of specific knowledge that the person has not yet obtained and would require months or years of specific experience in order to do so. The person needs specific information about how to behave, how to think about a topic or situation, and/or how to do something in a specific situation. This is often the case when the person being coached is lacking in experience but otherwise has all the other necessary capabilities. This might come about if the person being coached is presenting to a high level executive team in the organization and has never done so before. He or she may not know what the audience will expect or how to understand the issues of major importance to the executives. This requires an Expert Coach who has been in that situation before and can transmit that knowledge to the person being coached. In this case the person learns what to do and what to expect.

Or it may come about when the person being coached is required to make a decision, take an action, regarding a level in the organization at which they have never dealt with before. This is also a direct “lack of experience” situation. The candidate merely lacks “time in the trenches” so to speak and rather than getting first-hand experience and perhaps making a mistake that can be costly to their career, project, or team, they seek out coaching to gain the experience and knowledge without having the risk.

Therefore, we can summarize Expert Coaching as a type of “knowledge-gaining” coaching.

The person best suited to perform this coaching is an “Expert Coach”, someone who has a specific expertise in certain areas.

The STCerri International “Expert Facilitator Coaching” is a coaching process in which the desired outcome is a combination of knowledge and personal behavior, both of which are unknown to the person being coached. In this case the person being coached lacks certain knowledge and is required to take some action that not only has he or she never done before, but they are fairly certain that doing so will be uncomfortable or maybe very uncomfortable and may even cause some significant “internal conflict” for them. For example, conducting a difficult performance review. Or making a presentation to high-level executives. Or moving from a technical professional to a manager and having now to focus on the non-technical, “programmatic” issues, like people, schedules, manpower loadings, and budgets. Or taking on a leadership role, conducting meetings, and having some participants contribute negatively to the team meetings…. how should these situations be best dealt with? In this type of coaching the coach will not only impart knowledge but also provide the less obvious guidance that allows the person being coached to be comfortable performing these new functions.

This type of coaching doesn’t leave everything to the person being coached. The Expert Facilitator Coach is expected to have sufficient knowledge and expertise to be able to “tell” the candidate what to do and what the expected outcome ought to be. In this way the person being coached is not acting “blindly” but rather will know what to do and what to expect. This will often be coupled with alternatives as well. However, the significant difference here is that the Expert Facilitator Coach has the expertise to understand what the personal challenges of the candidate might be in this situation as well. It is here that this type of coach can “facilitate” the transition of the candidate from someone who has never performed this specific action to someone who has the confidence and flexibility to perform the action.

Therefore, we can summarize Expert Facilitator Coaching as a type of “knowledge-gaining” and “personal flexibility” coaching.

The person best suited to perform this coaching is an “Expert Facilitator Coach”, someone who has a specific expertise in certain areas AND as the facilitation skills to help the person being coached take on the new behaviors.

In the area of technology, technologists, and transitioning to technology management, Steven Cerri is an Expert Coach and an Expert Facilitator Coach, he is not an advisor Coach. Cerri has specific expertise in the areas of coaching technologists to be more effective and in transitioning to management and leadership. In the area of coaching, Steven’s sole focus is as and Expert Coach and as an Expert Facilitator Coach.


By the way, there is also The Standard coaching approach (one that Cerri does not do) is a coaching process in which the desired outcome is to have someone, the coach, listen to the situation in which the person being coached finds himself or herself and “advise” them on what to do. This type of coaching is often one within which the knowledge and information necessary to move forward is assumed to be resident within the person being coached. This means that the person being coached is just “stuck” you might say, in some way that doesn’t allow them to either make the necessary decision, or take the “next step” in their career or job or specific situation. This is often the case when someone doesn’t know whether to take path A or path B in their career and they need someone to talk it over with that is “on the outside looking in”. The coach will not give specific direction or expert knowledge, but will listen and give advice. The person being coached is assumed to ultimately understand what needs to be done and then do it. This type of coaching is as close as we get to a therapist.

The person best suited to perform this coaching is what I call an “Advisor Coach”, someone who, while not having specific expertise in a specific area, has the ability to “Advise” the person being coached by being on the “outside looking in”.