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Barriers to Coaching


A - Z Coaching and Mentoring - This week's extract explores Active Listening with some top tips for improving it in practice.

Don't forget if you have a special request for a definition of a coaching term or principle, just let us know! Perfect for anyone studying for an ILM Coaching & Mentoring qualification, or as a refresher for experienced coaches.



Barriers to coaching can exist on a personal level or across a wider organisation. Coaching should be introduced gradually in order for it to be truly successful and sustainable. Remove barriers at a rate slow enough to win hearts and minds rather than at a speed which causes fear, is over-evangelical or gives the impression that coaching is a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ fad.

Personal barriers: 

  • Fear of failure
  • Previous experience
  • Fear of change 
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of confidence 
  • Not enough time
  • Lack of trust. 

Organisational barriers: 

  • Culture of poor or limited staff development 
  • Coaching not seen as a priority 
  • Low level of coaching skills 
  • Low level of resources and budgets 
  • Lack of time or time pressures 
  • Limited understanding of its value 
  • Resistance from senior management 
  • Transactional rather than transformational culture 
  • Lack of integration and a hit and miss approach 
  • A poor performance focus rather than an excellence focus

Operational barriers: 

  • Shift patterns 
  • Multiple site working and remote working
  • Standardisation of models, recording and reporting – not enough or too much.

Taken from the A-Z Coaching Handbook by Clare Smale where you will find a comprehensive A-Z, plus a full list of references.

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