The Differences Between Directive and Facilitative Coaching

  1. Choosing the right coach
  2. Coaching approach and style
  3. Directive vs. facilitative coaching

If you're considering hiring a coach, one of the most important decisions you'll need to make is what approach and style of coaching you want. Two popular options are directive and facilitative coaching. Both have their own unique advantages and drawbacks, and it's important to understand the differences between them in order to choose the right coach for your needs. But what exactly are directive and facilitative coaching? And how do they differ from each other? In this article, we'll dive into the key characteristics of these two coaching styles and explore their benefits and limitations. Whether you're an aspiring coach looking to refine your own approach or a potential client trying to find the perfect fit, this article will provide valuable insights into the world of coaching.

So let's get started!To understand the differences between directive and facilitative coaching, it's important to first define what each style means. Directive coaching is a more traditional approach where the coach takes on a more authoritative role. They provide specific instructions and direction for the client to follow in order to achieve their goals. This type of coaching is often used in situations where the client needs clear and direct guidance, such as in sports or performance coaching. On the other hand, facilitative coaching is a more collaborative approach where the coach acts as a guide and encourages the client to come up with their own solutions.

The coach may ask open-ended questions and use active listening skills to help the client explore their thoughts and feelings. This approach is often used in personal or professional development coaching, where the client is seeking to gain insight and find their own path forward. One of the key differences between directive and facilitative coaching is the level of control that the coach has over the coaching process. In directive coaching, the coach has more control and sets the agenda for each session. They may also provide specific tasks or exercises for the client to complete in between sessions.

In contrast, facilitative coaching puts more control in the hands of the client. The coach acts as a support and guide, allowing the client to determine the direction and focus of each session. Another key difference is the role of feedback in each style. In directive coaching, feedback is often given in a more direct and structured manner. The coach may provide evaluations and suggestions for improvement based on their expertise and experience.

In facilitative coaching, feedback is more collaborative and focuses on helping the client reflect on their own progress and identify areas for growth. So which style is right for you? It ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you prefer a more structured and direct approach, directive coaching may be the best fit. If you thrive in a collaborative and self-directed environment, facilitative coaching may be more suitable. It's important to communicate openly with potential coaches and discuss their coaching style to ensure it aligns with your goals and needs. In conclusion, while both directive and facilitative coaching have their own unique strengths, they can greatly impact the coaching experience and outcomes.

By understanding the differences between these two styles, you can make an informed decision and choose the right coach for your personal or professional development journey.

What is Directive Coaching?

Directive coaching is a style of coaching where the coach takes a more authoritative role in the coaching process. In this approach, the coach provides specific instructions and guidance to the coachee on what actions to take and how to achieve their goals. This style of coaching is often used in situations where the coachee lacks knowledge or experience in a certain area and needs more direction from the coach. It can also be effective in fast-paced or high-pressure environments where quick decisions need to be made.

Directive coaching typically involves the coach setting clear expectations and goals for the coachee, providing feedback and suggestions, and giving step-by-step instructions on how to reach those goals. The coach may also use their own expertise and knowledge to guide the coachee towards success. While directive coaching can be effective in certain situations, it is important for coaches to be mindful of not being too controlling or overwhelming for the coachee. The goal of this style of coaching should still be to empower the coachee and help them develop their own skills and abilities.

What is Facilitative Coaching?

Facilitative coaching is a style of coaching that focuses on empowering the individual being coached to find their own solutions and reach their goals.

It is a non-directive approach, meaning that the coach does not provide specific advice or tell the individual what to do. Instead, the coach asks open-ended questions, actively listens, and guides the individual towards their own insights and solutions. This type of coaching is based on the belief that the individual being coached is the expert on their own life and has the ability to find their own answers. The role of the facilitative coach is to create a safe and supportive environment for the individual to explore their thoughts, feelings, and actions, and to help them gain clarity and perspective. One of the main characteristics of facilitative coaching is that it is a collaborative process. The coach and the individual work together as partners, with the coach providing support and guidance while allowing the individual to take ownership of their own growth and development. Another key aspect of facilitative coaching is that it is client-centered.

This means that the coach focuses on the needs and goals of the individual being coached, rather than imposing their own agenda or ideas. Ultimately, facilitative coaching is about helping individuals tap into their own inner resources and potential, rather than relying on external guidance or direction. It promotes self-discovery, self-awareness, and self-empowerment, which can lead to long-lasting personal growth and development.

Key Differences between Directive and Facilitative Coaching

When it comes to coaching, there are many different approaches and styles to choose from. Two of the most common ones are directive and facilitative coaching. While both styles aim to help individuals achieve their goals, they have some key differences that can greatly impact the coaching experience and outcomes.

In this section, we will outline the main contrasts between these two styles.


The main difference between directive and facilitative coaching lies in their approach. Directive coaching is more structured and focused on the coach providing specific instructions and solutions to the individual. On the other hand, facilitative coaching is more client-centered and focuses on helping individuals find their own solutions through open-ended questioning and active listening.

2.Power dynamic

Another important distinction between these two styles is the power dynamic between the coach and the individual. In directive coaching, the coach holds most of the power and control in the coaching relationship, as they are the ones providing solutions and directing the individual's actions.

In facilitative coaching, the power is more balanced, with the coach acting as a guide and support for the individual's self-discovery.


In directive coaching, the coach typically sets the goals for the individual based on their expertise and knowledge. In contrast, facilitative coaching involves a collaborative process where both the coach and individual work together to set meaningful and achievable goals.

4.Communication style

The communication style also differs between these two styles. Directive coaching involves more one-way communication, with the coach giving instructions and feedback while the individual listens. Facilitative coaching, on the other hand, involves a more two-way communication approach, with both parties actively participating in the conversation and exchanging ideas.


Finally, directive coaching tends to be more rigid and inflexible, as the coach has a specific plan and approach to follow.

Facilitative coaching, on the other hand, is more adaptable and flexible, as it allows for individual needs and preferences to be taken into account. These are some of the key differences between directive and facilitative coaching. Both styles have their strengths and can be effective depending on the individual's needs and preferences. By understanding these differences, you can determine which style is the right fit for you. As you can see, directive and facilitative coaching have significant differences that can greatly impact the coaching experience. It's important to carefully consider your goals and preferences when choosing which approach is right for you.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to coaching, so don't be afraid to try out different styles and find what works best for you.

Patty Reifschneider
Patty Reifschneider

Hardcore musicaholic. Amateur food trailblazer. Devoted travel evangelist. Incurable webaholic. Proud coffee buff.

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