Coaching has become very fashionable – but the flip side of this is that nobody is sure what exactly it is.

First of all, what it's not. It's not advice where the advisor tells you what to do to solve your problems. It's not therapy where the therapist tries to identify the reasons you've got to the place you're in. Rather coaching is the approach of being a sounding board and helping you structure problems so that you can solve them yourself.

Having a coach is like having a "critical friend" - someone who helps you to make realistic plans, and to keep to them. This is also the true coaching role of a coach in the sporting world – it's the athlete who performs and the coach might well not be able to do this themselves – but they can find ways of getting the best out of their clients.

A normal approach to coaching is to have a personal coach who you meet (or speak to by telephone) on a periodic basis. At each session (typically 45 minutes to an hour) you agree what action you're going to take – and report back at the next session on what you did and how it went. If you want to follow this up individually then contact me using the contacts page