Similarities and Differences in Coaching

Business and Executive Coaching is a very challenging and yet very rewarding profession.  Helping business owners and senior members of staff to address important issues that may be preventing them to achieve the real success they deserve, is truly very satisfying.

This article highlights similarities and differences which can be found in different styles and/or types of coaching.   In my experience of delivering coaching to individuals, teams and groups, I have learnt to adopt the most appropriate form of coaching while maintaining the key proposition: helping business individuals to identify and address issues that prevent them from being highly successful and releasing their full potential.


Different people associate the word coaching to a range of meanings; I will refer in this article to coaching as a process based on self-directed learning, addressed at business people, with the aim of addressing and solving issues around business performance, where the coach’s main role is asking questions. This way, the coach stimulates and facilitates the client’s thinking therefore helping her/him to address those issues that are preventing the achievement of her/his full potential.  Coaching methodologies differ from each other quite considerably and, while some of them are based on a fairly laid back approach, others carry articulate structures and measurability metrics that allow both Coach and Client to understand where the process is going and easily measure the results.

Irrespectively of the different type of coaching used, the key element, that ensures the expected outcome, is the commitment  of the client  to simply carry out the actions and tasks agreed during the session/s.

Coaching Individuals

Similarly to personal training for athletes,  we can say that coaching individuals in business is a very effective way of  ensuring a swift and powerful transformation in the client’s outcome.  By working regularly with a coach, the client is stimulated, stretched, supported and, at the same time, held  accountable to ensure that she/he will maintain focus and dedicate sufficient energy toward the achievement of her/his goals.  It is the coach’s responsibility to be fully dedicated and ensure that the client can achieve the best possible outcome in the shortest period of time.   Coaching individuals also offers full confidentiality; clients can disclose to the coach their deepest emotional issues that may affect their performance in business, without seemingly being directed related to business at all.

Coaching Teams

A simple and obvious definition of Team Coaching is: “helping a group of people  become and/or behave like a Team”.  A Team should have certain typical features like complementary skill-set among members, willing to work together as a whole and having agreed on a common working approach and methodology.  Team members may know each other socially to certain extent and they have to work together either virtually or in person.  As coaches, we need to ensure that we are helping the Team members define common goals and have an agreement about tasks and actions that each member will perform.  Eventual disagreements and conflicts must be addressed and promptly resolved to avoid long term negative repercussions.  Compared to Individual Coaching, the level of confidentiality toward each member is reduced although common rules about what should and can be disclosed and addressed are usually agreed at the beginning of each session.  The level of accountability among members of the team is ensured by the expectations from each member of the team to receive specific and prefixed results from all members.

Coaching Groups

Coaching a group of heterogeneous people is a great way of helping them address issues they would normally discuss during individual one-to-one sessions. Alongside coaching and several other benefits, working in a group offers the wealth of knowledge and experience from other members of the group.  Within a well selected group, is quite common to find out that somebody’s current challenge is part somebody else’s experience.  Each member of the group has his own agenda about what to achieve and the content of the coaching sessions is dictated by these specific needs.   I have developed a format for group coaching which ensures  that each member of the group can quickly get used to and learn to use coaching-based conversations (e.g. asking questions) when dealing with other members of the group.

Similarities in coaching Individuals, Teams and Groups

Building on what we described before, we can say that the 3 types of coaching all share the following similarities:

  • Self directed learning during coaching conversations: asking questions and stimulating the clients’ thinking will  help them  achieve solutions that they will own, be motivated to achieve and proud for having achieved them.
  • Dedication of the coach: in all cases, the coach’s role to ensure that  clients will achieve the best possible outcomes as per their own definition and expectations: e.g. the coach will/should not offer an opinion or judgement about what the outcome should be and whether it’s good or bad for the client.
  • Commitment of the client: no result can be achieved unless the client commits to take action and carry out the tasks agreed during each session.
  • Lasting results: achieving one or more goals could have a limited and short term meaning and so it is key that the coach helps clients to extend the learning process and the benefits of coaching to create a positive impact on other areas of the clients’ business and private life.

Differences between coaching Individuals, Teams and Groups

Withstanding the similarities described in the previous paragraph, we should bear in mind the following differences:

  • The level of confidentiality: it can be expected to have total confidentiality when coached as part of an individual session; when coaching within a team session there are different areas of conversation that can be totally open but equally there may be areas of conflict that could cause resistance from some of the members of the team. When coaching a group is a good practice to ensure that all members of the group are bound by a comprehensive agreement that include a professionally written paragraph which ensures and enforces confidentiality.
  • Duration of the sessions: individual coaching is usually arranged in fairly short sessions, usually ranging between 45 and 120 minutes although shorter or longer sessions can be possible.  Team and Group sessions  usually last between 2 and 7 hours depending on the size of the group and their specific needs.
  • Frequency of the sessions: individual sessions are organised weekly or fortnightly, although some programs work over 3 or 4 weeks periods; Team or Group sessions usually operate on longer periods, 4-12 weeks between sessions.
  • Delivery of the sessions: sessions for individuals can be delivered in person as well as over the telephone or other VoIP technologies.  In fact nearly 50% of all coaching delivered is over the phone.  Team and Group coaching is usually delivered in person while there can be short follow-up conference calls in between.


Coaching is a powerful tool that helps individuals, teams and groups to define and achieve lasting goals for themselves and their businesses.  The choice of being coached as an individual or part of a team or group can depend from a number of factors, some of which can be out of your control; the most important thing to agree is that, whatever you expect to achieve through coaching, can and will indeed be achieved. The one key element which may determine the outcome of any type of coaching program, is the willingness of the client to follow through, to take action and actually do what he/she has agreed to do; no action = no results.

Posted under Articles

This post was written by massimo on 24 March 2011

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Workshop for Cambourne Women in Business

Cambourne Women in Business“, a very active networking group based in Cambourne, has recently organised their first business coaching workshop and asked MaGa Coaching to develop bespoke content for them.

Covering a number of key topics revolving around how to best run a business this 3 hours workshop was run by Beatrix Fogler, personal and life coach and Massimo Gaetani, business and executive coach.

The 15 delegates represented a broad range of businesses including Will writing, jewellery design and portrait photography and they all had the opportunity to express their preferences of topics to be discussed. The presentations were then developed with a strong component of interactivity involving each participant and giving them the opportunity of explaining and discussing their particular issues and getting effective help from both the coaches and the other delegates.

Beatrix’s presentation was about:

  • Motivation
  • Time Management


  • Planning
  • Marketing
  • Pricing
  • Strategic Positioning

Anthonine Arts-Zetteler, member of  the Cambourne Women in Business Committee and organiser of the event commented

“the workshop gave us some very practical tips about how to manage our businesses more effectively. The feedback we had from all participants was great and we are already planning for the next event”.

For more information please contact:

Anthonine Arts-Zetteler – 07807 187 887

Beatrix Fogler – 07869 109 337

Massimo Gaetani – 07879 610 111

Posted under Events

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 28 September 2010

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Free Coaching Call Mar 2010

MaGa offers you the unique opportunity of being coached over the phone during our monthly conference call that will be held on Weds 17 Mar 2010 between 11:00am and 12:00 noon.

This one hour call will offer you the opportunity of asking questions about how to improve your business and being coached live during the call.  If you would like to simply hear tips without discussing your own business you can still book yourself in as a listener.

If you are interested in being coached for free and have a doubt, a dilemma or a problem that you would like to discuss we want to hear from you: please hurry as there are just 5 places available as a coachee.

Please Subscribe to MaGa Coaching by Email and we will send you the details of the next Free Coaching Call.

Please also book your place using the form below. It’s totally free (apart the standard call rate to a land line number) but we need to know who will be calling in to assess the numbers:


Posted under Free Help

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 26 February 2010

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Testimonial from Mark Taylor

Testimonial for Business Coaching package:

I was fortunate enough to have a series of coaching sessions with Massimo of MaGa Coaching and found the whole experience both useful and enlightening.

There are many details to running, organising and promoting a business some of which are easy to ignore or ‘do later’. The great thing about having a business coach is he is able to put into perspective the most important areas that you need to look at in order to build your business.  Massimo did this with  great skill.  This, in turn, increased my motivation  and even though there was no one forcing me to cover all the points from each of the last sessions, the fact that I was paying for them gives even more incentive.

I now have a series of extremely useful tools that I can use to increase the profitability and size of my business – these are invaluable and though I may have been aware of them, it took Massimo to structure them and bring them to the fore front of my mind.

I would thoroughly recommend using Massimo.  His experience is wide ranging, if you think that he can help you – he can !

Mark Taylor – Company Director – Green Clean Limited – Cambridge

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This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 11 February 2010

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Presentation: peer group for business growth

Please join us at Begin Space (details in the booking form below) for this presentation.  Running your own business, being your own boss, offers great advantages: freedom, independence, autonomy and financial rewards.  At the same time it is easy to get caught into a spiral of time wasting activities, procrastination, lack of focus or inspiration; so if you are:

  • a business owner/partner in a high tech small business, perhaps a start-up
  • a software development contractor or freelance
  • thinking of starting a new business in high tech

you will find very interesting the possibilities that a highly focussed peer group can offer to you and your business.  Please have a look at the following questions:

  • Are you working hard and making less money than you deserve?
  • Have you ever asked yourself why some people work hard and barely survive while others seem to be thriving while working a few hours per day?
  • Do you think there is space for improvement in your efficiency and effectiveness?
  • Would you like to work more on your business rather than in your business?

If you answered yes to two or more of the above you should come along.

This one hour presentation will be run by Massimo Gaetani, business and executive coach, founder of MaGa Coaching.  The presentation will show you the tangible benefits of how working within a peer group, facilitated by a professional business coach, can help growing your business, focussing on essential profitable activities and being accountable toward yourself in achieving important milestones.

This is a free event: coffee and cakes will be available to participants.  Please book your place using the form below:


Posted under Announcements, Events

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 9 February 2010

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A blank page approach to coaching

There are many misconceptions about what a business coach is and can do for your business: I am convinced that this is mainly because coaching is still an unregulated profession and literally any cowboy can call himself coach and start trading.

Business owners that have been exposed to these lesser professional coaches often report very different experiences to the basic underlying concept that coaching (business or otherwise) should be about.  Coaching is a self reflecting learning experience where the coach brings a structure and helps you to think better and facilitate your decision process while, at the same time, keeping you accountable for the actions you are committing to.

I was recently having a conversation with a business owner in the Cambridge area: in the past he worked with a business coach that belongs to an international franchise and he was trying to understand how I work, compared to them.  The best analogy I could use in explaining my totally different coaching technique was to define it as a blank page approach to coaching.

So I first listed what I don’t do:

  • Supply reading material;
  • Use predefined strategies for sales, marketing, customer services and other business management activities;
  • Suggest what to do;
  • Consult in any way;

Then I listed what I can do for you as a business owner:

  • Ask questions like: “how can I help you” and “what would you like to achieve”;
  • Helping you to define and refine important goals for your business;
  • Bring a well proven structure to help your thinking and decision process;
  • Being an objective sounding board that while understands how to run a business helps you with questions that are allowing you to get to your own solutions;
  • Keep you accountable toward your goals and the actions that you define from time to time.

The blank page approach to coaching is about arriving in front of you with nothing more than a notepad and a pen, asking questions, taking notes and helping you to move from a current situation of uncertainty, dilemma, lack or clarity or direction into a constructive process that culminates with a concise, specific and clear list of actions that tackle essential activities for you to move toward your business goals and achieving them.

Posted under Articles, Coaching in Action

This post was written by massimo on 30 January 2010

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Massimo Gaetani interviewed by Radio 209 Cambridge

MaGa Coaching’s MD, Massimo Gaetani, was recently interviewed by Karl Hartland, station manager at 209 Radio during the 209 talk, a four weekly behind the scene of the community radio and the people that contribute to its success.  209 Radio is a local community Radio that broadcasts from Cambridge on 105 FM.

In this interview Massimo explains the work he has been doing with the various teams at the station as well as various aspects of coaching and the benefits it brings to business owners.

Please listen to the interview here:

Radio209 Massimo Gaetani Interview Jan 2010

If you prefer to listen to the whole program please check this page.

Posted under News

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 22 January 2010

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Procrastination: a few coaching questions to help you moving on

Procrastination is a common issue that I encounter when working with solopreneurs and people running small businesses.  Procrastination can be defined as “putting off a pending task because of laziness, lack of interest” or different prioritization about what should be done.  Without a precise and well defined mechanism of accountability we choose tasks we like and keep delaying the ones we like less, and this can become a dangerous habit.  The effects of procrastination on many of my clients to date was initially to affect their performance at work then, increasingly, it was producing stress and other related diseases that eventually affected the physical health of some of them.

When clients are complaining to me about how procrastination is affecting their performance and ultimately their well being I am some times attempted to tell them to just get on with the pending tasks they are procrastinating.  That would be logical and easy but then, as a coach, I must (and I do) use a questioning methodology that is helping the clients’ thinking process and it helps them to see a way forward and commit toward the necessary actions.

Here are some of the questions that I use in these situations:

  • Is the completion of this pending task affecting other activities?
  • How often do you think about this pending task?
  • Is the completion of this pending task affecting other people?
  • How would you feel if you could tick this pending task off your list?
  • Do you feel guilty when you think about this pending task?
  • Is something stopping you from completing this pending task?
  • How much time per day/week do you spend thinking about this pending task?
  • Would you behave differently if you promised to complete this pending task to a colleague, client or supplier?
  • How can I help your thinking toward the best outcome for you?

The questions above are not in random order: there is no logical priority in using one before the other and I never needed to use more than 2 or 3 of them to move the client toward a commitment of completion by the following session.  I would usually choose the questions following the content of the conversation that led to the procrastination topic.

Next time you are procrastinating try reading the above questions and see whether they can help you complete your pending task(s) by tackling procrastination head on.

Posted under Articles

This post was written by massimo on 8 January 2010

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Free Coaching Call Jan 2010

MaGa offers you the unique opportunity of being coached over the phone during our monthly conference call that will be held on Wed 13 Jan 2010 at 3pm.  The call lasts one hour and several people have the opportunity of asking questions about how to improve their business or life and being coached live during the call.

If you are interested in being coached for free and have a doubt, a dilemma or a problem that you would like to discuss we want to hear from you!

Please Subscribe to MaGa Coaching by Email and we will send you the details of the next Free Coaching Call.

Please also book your place using the form below: it’s totally free (apart the standard call rate to a land line number) but we need to know who will be calling in to assess the numbers.


Posted under Events, Free Help

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 23 December 2009

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Free Coaching Calls from MaGa Coaching

MaGa coaching is announcing for the beginning of 2010 an exciting new opportunity of being coached for free during a monthly conference call.

MaGa Free Coaching Calls are ideal for those people that would like to check, at no cost, how professional coaching can help them in better running their business.

If you are interested please check the Free Coaching Call page and follow the instructions about how to benefit of this great opportunity.

Posted under Events, News

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 23 December 2009

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