11 Coaching Styles: Detailed Definition, Examples, And More

Article by Nelli Gevorgyan / Updated at .01 Feb 2024
15 min read
11 Coaching Styles: Detailed Definition, Examples, And More

Coaching is one of the most popular forms of teaching and learning experience nowadays. 

Why? Because coaching offers a personalized learning experience aimed at professional or personal growth.  

Coaching, however, has various styles, and it is vital to be aware of them to become a good one. This article will cover 11 coaching styles with detailed definitions and examples. 

So, if you are ready, let’s start! 


What is the coaching style?

The coaching style is a unique way a coach implements throughout guiding an individual or group towards achieving certain things or making certain decisions.  

Coaching is all about helping people to reach their full potential and grow. Meanwhile, the coaching style is a specific way the coach implements throughout the process. 

The importance of coaching style

Coaching style is vital for many reasons, some of which are: 

  • Certain styles can be suitable for one and unsuitable for another. For some people democratic style works the best; for others, the autocratic. You have to master a few different techniques to provide the most efficient solution for the client. 
  • The style or styles that you choose as a coach should be mastered by you and also make you feel comfortable. Choosing a style that is entirely not relatable can lead to drained energy and overwhelming.  
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The main 5 and other 6 coaching styles with examples

There are five main and six other coaching styles that professional coaches use. Throughout this article, we will take a detailed look at each style and identify its benefits or potential drawbacks of those. However, no matter which one you will choose, make sure that:

  • You are well familiar with it. 
  • It suits your model.
  • It suits the client’s wants and expectations and will guide them into taking real action.  

Democratic Coaching

Democratic coaching is the most “free” way of coaching. With this style of coaching, the coachee has maximal freedom and accountability for the final results. The coach is there to track the progress and somehow contribute to and motivate the client for further action. Or assist them in finding the best way to achieve something they desire. 


Imagine a person comes to you without even specific goals in mind, and they do not have a shortage of time. This is one of the best styles to implement for this case.  You can come up with a list of new goals using SMART or other goal-creation techniques and further work on achieving these together.  


A democratic coaching session can change the client’s approach to life and mindset. It will also benefit you as a coach. As clients are more “free,” they become better problem-solvers, which leads to more effective outcomes and customer satisfaction.

  • It will equip the client with essential life skills such as taking and realizing that they are accountable and have control over the situation.
  • It will equip them with emotional intelligence, patience, diligence, self-awareness, and decision-making skills.


  • Some clients may not take so much responsibility for their actions or feel uncomfortable without much guidance from the coach.
  • It is not time-efficient as the client is usually the one to make most of the decisions. 

Best for 

This strategy is the best option for coaching a person who wants to learn cycling; that enables a coachee to decide the learning process through goal setting, active listening, Virtual Reality simulation & tracking progress. Sometimes the coach participates with the coachee to achieve goals. This strategy enables a person to decide how to choose a bike according to his needs.

This style works best with leadership coaching.  

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Authoritarian coaching

The authoritarian coaching style is usually implemented when a coachee has a clear goal, and the coach is there to help them to reach it. This style is all about the coach deciding what, when, and where the coachee is going to do that will potentially contribute to achieving the desired results. However, the overall plan is discussed with the client.   


If the client already has a specific goal in mind and wants a simple and efficient plan, then the authoritarian coaching style is the way to go. 


  • As the coach, you become responsible for making challenging decisions and simplifying communication between you and the client.  
  • It may provide productivity, as the clients focus mainly on their assigned tasks.


  • You should be equipped and trained yourself, as coachees come for fast and lasting results, which you guarantee.

Best for 

Authoritarian coaching is best suited for situations when the client has a pressuring time limit. You can go with this coaching style if they come solely to perform tasks to achieve quick results. 

Holistic coaching

The belief on which relies the whole style is “balance & harmony,” alongside the interconnection between everything in this life. So, holistic style is about finding balance in everything, including decision-making. This coaching style aims to broaden the coachee’s worldview and help them see more that is out there, including opportunities.  


If a coachee came to you without a specific set of financial, love, or career goals but with an overall idea to change their lives and improve them, then the Holistic coaching style will benefit them most. Assist them in the process of reshaping their minds and giving them tools so they can create their realities.


  • Holistic coaching includes various aspects of the individual's life, such as physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
  • It integrates different techniques and strategies from other spheres, such as psychology, nutrition, etc. 


  • As it has a comprehensive nature, holistic coaching may be more expensive than other coaching approaches.
  • It requires too much time to focus on the individual’s life with various aspects. 

Best for 

Holistic coaching can be a perfect choice for clients who focus not only on specific goals but also on well-being and quality of life. Choose this style if your clients seek to improve their current lifestyle by implementing healthy habits.

Coach with his group coachees

Autocratic coaching

Autocratic coaching is very close to the authoritarian coaching style. However, if in the authoritarian the client and coach come to a mutual agreement on the further plan, in autocratic coaching, the coach decides ultimately every aspect (besides the goal). When implementing autocratic coaching, it's essential to establish the differences between SLO vs SLA, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the specific service standards and agreements that guide the coaching relationship.

Autocratic coaching is the best style to teach clients to stay committed to their goals and future. Also, it will help clients to learn discipline.   


The best example and one of the most suitable areas for autocratic coaching is fitness. Let’s say the client came to you to lose ten kilograms or gain 5 kilograms, or build muscles, they are not experts in the field, and all they want is to achieve the result. As the coach who they have chosen to trust, you should continue being reliable, a bit pressing, and implement the autocratic style to bring them to the goals they want.


  • Authoritarian coaching doesn’t require too much time for final decision-making
  • Creates clarity and consistency,  especially in the case of group coaching 


  • You have to be a true coaching leader to inspire others in the same way
  • As a coach, you take most of the responsibility and decision-making on yourself

Vision coaching

Vision Coaching is a coaching style that primarily relies on feedback, developing leadership abilities, and various visualization of future techniques. When the coachee receives feedback, they should be able to implement it to achieve the next goal.

Clients should regularly receive feedback and reflect on their past goals to understand their progress.   


  • Fosters the achievement of long term goals using real-time resources
  • Being a style based on feedback, vision coaching facilitates the process of goal-acheivment in a comprehensive manner.  


  • Requires a set of leadership skills so that you can have a lasting impact on the coachee to help formulate their vision & long-term goals. 

Best for 

Vision coaching can be the best option to apply for entrepreneurs who want to develop clear concepts for their companies. It can also suit individuals seeking to improve their leadership skills or have career growth in a certain field. 

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The other 6 coaching styles

Besides these main ones, we will also present six other ways of coaching. 

Laissez-faire coaching

Laissez-faire coaching is the golden middle between democratic and autocratic styles. Also, it is one of the most widely used coaching styles.              

It brings together all the benefits of autocratic and democratic coaching, synthesizing the good and eliminating the drawbacks of the styles creating the “perfect” style. 


An example of a Laissez-faire style could be a particular training program designed to achieve the result in a specific aspect, however, with the freedom of decision-making that holds the coachee. So you can offer individual approaches, specific exercises, and activities but also train the coachee to take control of the situation. 


  • Coachees become more organized and, at the same time, have the freedom to make decisions.
  • Clients may become one to suggest ideas or take initiatives developing their leadership skills simultaneously.


  • Laissez-faire coaching may not suit all of the clients, especially if they are seeking more guidance from the coach’s side. 

Best for 

If your clients are self-motivated, independent, and confident in their way of achieving goals, congratulations, you made the right decision by choosing Laissez faire coaching. It works best with clients who want to explore some options themselves without a lot of direction. 

Bureaucratic coaching

Bureaucratic coaching sessions are well structured and more group-oriented rather than individual-centric.  It also shares some common characteristics with the autocratic style. One of the main differences is that in the case of autocratic coaching, the coach has a much larger role in decision-making.  


An excellent coaching session for the employee groups in the X department to promote routine behavior that will lead them to short and long-term goal achievement. 


  • Establishing a clear and structured framework for a group can facilitate the development of consistent behavior patterns toward achieving a shared goal.
  • The expectations and roles are set very clear.


  • It doesn’t leave much room for independent thinking
  • There is a lack of teamwork and collaboration between the coach and coachees.

Best for

This coaching style is best for working with larger groups, especially if it is employee training to increase efficiency and productivity.

Developmental coaching

The development coaching style teaches clients to see things, goals, and everything else in perspective. As the name suggests, it focuses on the personal development of the coachee. This coaching style also deals with providing the client with tools and skills so they can understand and overcome problems.  


  • Emphasizes the client's "mental age" rather than past experience. 
  • Assists clients in improving their ability to interact with their lives and others more efficiently. 


  • It is not suitable for everyone
  • The techniques and practices used in developmental coaching cannot be the same for even two people. Everyone demands a highly individual approach. 

Best for 

This style will be best to implement for clients who want to change the way they generally think and live their lives and who aim to be more involved with life itself. 

Coach doing a presentation

Group coaching

Bureaucratic coaching is efficient for groups in a more professional setting. However, there is a whole separate style for group coaching as well. Group coaching focuses on individuals within the group. Usually, this type of coaching is cheaper and more affordable for the clients, and the main benefit is the shared experience of the group members with one another. Everyone in the group will be able to see each other's progress which increases the trust factor toward the coach and the efficiency of sessions.  


Assume a group of people registered for participation in the “Make your wishes come true” coaching sessions. While participating, they all share experiences and faith factors towards the efficiency of the training increases.  


  • It is a more cost-effective way of coaching.
  • It offers a variety of experiences and perspectives, and particicpants can learn a lot from one another. 


  • You will need to balance the needs and wants of multiple people in one setting.
  • It can be hard to provide  individual attention to each participant. 

Best for 

It will best work with clients who are looking for an affordable option and, most importantly, are willing to share their goals and experience with other participants as well. 

Transformational coaching

Transformational coaching is focused on individuals who want major changes and transformations in their lives. This style concentrates on teaching the coachee to change their attitude towards life and general perception of things. It is about giving them an understanding and realization of their full potential and tools for further transformation.   


Let’s say there is a client who has tendencies of overthinking, and that stands in their way of making good decisions. Within transformational coaching, the coach should implement various techniques and strategies to help the client overcome the qualities they are dissatisfied with and transform those into the ones that will lead to success. 


  • Helps clients develop communication, empathy, and emotional intelligence skills.
  • Focuses more on the coachee's strengths and helps them to stay motivated throughout the journey.


  • As transformational coaching involves  more long-term and major goals the results may not come as fast. 

Best for 

Transformational coaching can best work with clients who tend to make a significant change in their lives. This style of coaching can unlock their full potential when major transitions penetrate into their lives. 

Mindful coaching

Mindful coaching is all about assisting the client in the process of switching from “automatically doing/existing mode” to “Being and Living mode.”  Within mindful coaching, mindfulness and coaching are combined to give the best outcomes. A mindful person lives and feels the present moment letting go of past traumas and anxiety about the future. Within this style, the client learns to establish healthy and clear goals for the future and go onward achieving them; however, do not forget that they live right now.   


When a client comes with quandaries, such as too much focus and energy spent on events that are in the past or overthinking the future, the first thing the coach needs to help the client deal with is that quandary. The coach must implement various strategies to help the client become more mindful. 


  • Due to mindfulness coaching, clients are able to overcome stress, increase self-awareness and develop a sense of well-being. 
  • It is a flexible approach. You can adjust it to every person’s or group’s needs. 


  • It is not a nostrum to all life problems. 
  • Not every client will be ready to practice mindfulness techniques or show dedication in this approach as it may bring uncomfortable feelings. 

Best for 

Mindfulness coaching can be a perfect choice when working with clients who seek fulfillment. If you deal with coachees who have high-stress professions. Just make sure they do not have any previous traumas or mental concerns, which can evoke uncomfortable feelings. 

Coache's working desk

How to choose your coaching style?

If you want to be a good coach, you should be able to listen to clients’ problems to get to the root of them. Only then will you be able to identify and implement the best style for an individual that will assist them throughout their self-growth journey.   

Make sure to analyze the client, talk to them and get to know them better before deicing on the style and strategy of further work. Plus, it is also vital to consider what goal they have come to you and what time limitations they have.   

You can make a questionary that clients can fill out before registering for the coaching session and include questions such as:      

  • What are your goals?
  • Why did you choose this training program?
  • What are your expectations?   

These questions will give you a more thorough understanding of why they are there and how to work with them better. 

Choose your styles and start coaching

As we have seen so far, coaching is efficient, individual-centric, and extremely popular nowadays in the e-learning and self-development industries. So, stop hesitating, grab your laptop, and start your coaching business immediately. 

One of the platforms that will allow you to set up a full-featured website quickly is - Uteach. Uteach offers an opportunity for end-to-end coaching sessions, visual drag & drop website building tools, and everything for good SEO optimization. You can even have your blog on the website to drive higher organic traffic as well.  

So, if you want to start your own growth right now, this is your sign!           
Uteach with you all the way towards success.

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  ? Too Long; Didn't Read

Coaching styles refer to the different approaches that coaches use to guide and motivate their clients. Some of the most common styles include Democratic, Authoritarian, Holistic, Autocratic, and Vision coaching. You may also see other unique styles presented in the article.

If you want to succeed as a coach, you will have to choose the style based on your client’s special needs and wants. So, first you can consider their learning styles and preferences to ensure you are on the right path of guiding them toward goal achievement.

The right choice of coaching style can help to establish yourself as an expert in your field. This, in its turn, will lead to increased demand for your services in the marketplace. Using a suitable style of coaching will get you positive word-of-mouth referrals. And marketing and sales benefits are only the tip of the iceberg.