Can your best friend be your coach?


The word “coaching” literally means to transport someone from one place to another.  People use coaching to help them move forward and/or to create some kind of change.

A Coaching Conversation is a highly specialized conversation (or series of conversations) one person has with another.  The person who is the coach intends to produce a conversation that will benefit the other person, the client, in a way that relates to the clients learning, self-development and progress.  

How does this conversation differ from the one we have with our best friends over the garden wall, a cup of tea or a beer in the pub? 

The person who decides whether a coaching conversation was a coaching conversation or not is the expert— the person who is being coached.  

If the following is true after a coaching conversation then it can be accepted as coaching;

  • The focus of the conversation was primarily on you and your circumstances
  • Your thinking, actions and learning benefited significantly from the conversation
  • You were unlikely to have these benefits in thinking or learning within this time frame if the conversation hadn’t happened.

The coach respects that you alone are the expert on your life and circumstances.  The skilled coach focuses solely on your situation with the kind of attention and commitment that you will rarely experience elsewhere—expect possibly from your best fiend?


IMG_7765 (2)Michelle Clarke is an Executive Coach.  She works with Leaders, Executives and Executive Coaches, helping them to  develop strong, influential personal brands and to elegantly navigate the complexity of 21st century leadership . To learn more about her work please visit her website, and be sure also to subscribe to this blog for future updates. If you enjoy Facebook, please join Michelle’s Business Page

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3 responses to “Can your best friend be your coach?

  1. I tend to totally agree 🙂
    I find that trust plays a major part when I talk to people and then I would rather talk to a friend than a total stranger. Some mentors / coaches has the professional distance which makes me feel uncomfortable – I understand why they have that, but for me, who have trust issues, I need that personal relationship.
    On the reverse side, I have trusted 4 people in my life – friends – and they all stabbed me in the back. Perhaps that is where the ‘professional distance’ is a good thing…

    • Trust is so important. The coaches I have worked with who have impressed me the most are those that have gained my trust by bringing themselves completely into the relationship – they are vulnerable human beings prone to all the concerns that non-coaches are. When I recognize that, I feel I too can totally be vulnerable. I hope I do this for my clients also.
      I do hope for you Annemarie that you can forgive those 4 people and forgive yourself….and open yourself up to trusting more and more people in due course.

      • Thank you for your reply Michelle. Coaches are people too and people should realise that. Perhaps we put them on a pedestal, like we do with ministers, pastors, psychologists, etc. Whenever a ‘relationship’ is started or entered into, no matter which kind, both parties must realise that the other side have feelings and vulnerabilities Trust is always an issue and should be earned, not expected.

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