What is the difference between using an internal coach and an external coach?

If your organisation already has a pool of trained internal coaches that you can access, there may be a number of advantages, such as:

  • they understand the organisation that you work in and the context
  • they operate a consistent methodology and approach which reflects the needs of your organisation
  • it is more cost effective and delivered locally
  • it probably means that coaching is already well understood within your organisation and is being used to develop organisational performance as well individual performance

There are sometimes concerns that internal coaches can be too close to the organisation or that 'sensitive' issues cannot be addressed. However, properly trained coaches should operate to clear standards which ensure that this is not a problem.

External coaches will often have a broader experience and knowledge of different organisations with more independence. They may be able to deal with highly sensitive issues or confidential discussions or where an external perspective would be seen as beneficial.

It is important that external coaches have appropriate qualifications and experience, are accredited and observe professional standards and ethics of the recognised coaching bodies, and have regular supervision to support their personal development.

Coaches available through the Coaching Network have many of the advantages of both internal and external coaches. They will understand something of the context of your organisation but also have the independence and broader perspective with the reassurance that they have the necessary qualifications and experience, working within a clear set of standards and ethics.