The Career Coaching Jargon Buster - a Beginner's Guide

Do you ever feel confused by Contracting? 🤔

Disorientated by DISC?

Hazy about Hynotherapy or non-plussed by NLP...? 🤷‍♀️

The world of coaching is full of jargon, and it gets bandied about like we all know what it all means.

This week’s blog post is designed to take you from Clueless to Clear!

So you can make a better decision about whether coaching is right for you 😁

Read on to find out more about the meaning of:

  • Coaching

  • Coaching Programme

  • Coaching Types (eg Career Coaching vs Life Coaching)

  • Core Values

  • Contracting

  • DISC

  • Hypnotherapy

  • Limiting Beliefs

  • Intro Call/ Discovery Call/ Clarity Cll

  • Mentoring

  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

  • Neuroplasticity

  • Re-Frame

  • SMART Goals

  • State

  • Trigger/ Anchor

  • Woo Woo

(And if I've forgotten one, please let me know!)


The exact meaning of the word "coaching" is pretty vague.

The dictionary definition is a bit rubbish: all the ones I’ve found use the word “training” (ie “the job or activity of providing training for people, or helping to prepare them for something”.)

And the one thing all coaches will agree on is that coaching ISN’T training.

The person who trained me as a coach has his own definition: “a powerful conversation that helps you live a life you love”.

I love this for the powerful conversation element - I agree, coaching is definitely a dialogue, not a monologue.

But as a Oxford University historian, the definition I prefer is actually based on the origins of the word.

The word “coach was first used in the sense we mean it now in Oxford University slang from 1830: a “coach” was someone who “carried” a student through an exam.

In other words, it was a person who helped someone get from one place, to another, using their skills and experience.

And that for me is the essence of coaching: it is a process of a transformation - what I often call a journey that I walk with my clients - from one place (physical or mental) to another.

However, it isn’t training: that implies an expert teaching someone else knowledge that they then absorb.

(On our journey, I may also use some elements of training or mentoring with my clients, where I am more directly guiding them - but that isn’t coaching.)

With true coaching, the answers are inside the client - it is the coach’s role (using their expertise) to help the client find that answer.

So for me, I use my career experience and coaching expertise to help my clients go on a journey from Imposter Syndrome and that terrible inner critic, to a place of self-belief - by helping them discover the Naked Confidence already inside them.


A series of coaching sessions designed to deliver results defined at the beginning (see Contracting).

These might be a set format: a set number of sessions, of a certain length, held at a certain frequency.

Or they could be much more fluid, with the number and frequency determined as the Programme develops.

And they could be online, phone-based or in person, depending on the Programme.

Exactly what type of Programme a client is signing up for should be very clear.

(For example, my signature Coaching Programme, “Banish Your Imposter and Discover Your Naked Confidence contains 7 x 75 minute online coaching held fortnightly (holidays and diaries permitting.)


Career Coaching vs Executive Coaching vs Leadership Coaching vs High Performance Coaching vs Life Coaching

Apart from Life Coaching, these are all forms of coaching that are used in the workplace.

Career coaching obviously focusses on the career of the client, whoever they are and at whatever stage in their career