These two often-cited definitions help us to understand the scope and purpose of coaching:

"Coaching is the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another" "

Downey, 2003

Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learning rather than teaching them "

Whitmore, 2009


All coaching definitions are focussed on the idea that mindset and skillset are essential elements to good coaching.

  • Mindset: People are resourceful, and tutees have inner strengths, capabilities and wisdom. As a result, tutees will often be able to identify the solution(s) to the issues they are experiencing. The personal tutor’s mindset is one where their role broadens from expert to genuine facilitator and learning in partnership with their tutee.
  • Skillset: This is about how a tutee can structure their thinking about their issue in order to find a solution that works for them. The personal tutor skillset will include the ability to hold effective conversations that lead to meaningful change for their tutees.

The personal tutor coaching mindset

Developed from Dr Arti Maini's guide to coaching for students.

Learner-centred coaching