Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

What is Coaching Psychology anyway?


Hello everyone!

I hope you are all well and are having a great week.  Are you like me in thinking that December and Christmas have crept up on us incredibly fast this year?

So, I am in my last week of teaching before Christmas…yay! I’ve some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks including more details about the Multi Passionate Women’s Conference (2014) and an exciting feature in a National magazine which I’ll be showing you once it’s been published.  In the meantime I thought I would tell you a little but more about my role in Psychology Coaching.


I’ve found out lately that some people are unsure as to exactly what a Coaching Psychologist does.  I met someone recently who thought that being a Coaching Psychologist meant that I would work exclusively with sports teams, as most have a ‘coach’.  The myth is also along the lines that what I do might be similar to that of a Life Coach.

Well, neither are completely true though, like any profession where listening, offering tools, direction or advice is concerned, it might be easy to see why people can be confused.  So what does a Coaching Psychologist (CP)actually do?  Who do they work with and who can they help?

Well a Coaching Psychologist (CP) can work with anyone who wants help from someone who is qualified, and has usually worked hard for a very long time, to learn to understand people, how we think and feel and then be able to advise based on research based evidence, the best way to explain, understand and then change or adapt their behaviour.

In this case ALL psychologists do this, each specialising in their own area of expertise.  In other words they have spent more time looking at these things from the perspective of the group they are interested in.  This could be Sport & Execrcise, Education, Forensic, Occupational, Health, Clinical, Teaching, Counselling or Neuropsychology.   All of these areas are accredited or Chartered routes to registering as a psychologist and all Coaching Psychologists (CPs) must come from, and be chartered in one of these areas.


In the case of Coaching Psychology then all CPs have a good basis and understanding of psychology, which is why they are able to work with all manner of groups.  What they don’t do however is work with ‘clinical’ groups’.  In other words they don’t, typically work with people who have a clinical diagnosis.  That is not to say that they can’t work these groups, it usually means that if someone has a clinical diagnosis, that they may also see someone else for clinical work.  Likewise you are safe in the knowledge that your CP is also qualified to refer you on to someone for clinical work should you need it.

The exciting thing about working with a CP is they work with people are ‘well’ and therefore want help changing something in their life.  CPs often then work with people who want to set new goals in their lives, relationships or at work and they therefore want help with tools that will help their mind-set and thinking, helping them shift in order to be able to achieve what it is they want to achieve.  How exciting!

I suppose its no surprise then that CP has its roots in Sport Psychology as it is by looking at how we can enhance performance that some of the tools and models that we use came about.

I currently work with a range of people from students to people struggling to find work.  I’ve also worked with people who are starting their own business to people dealing with stress in the workplace, people with issues around work-life balance or career progression as well as executives and sports teams.  No two clients are the same and no two days are the same and I LOVE it!

So, there we go.  A little more about what it is that Coaching Psychologists do as well as who, and indeed what they can help with.  I’m going to tell you a little more about this next week, especially as I have a conference coming up that I am presenting at and I’d like to tell you all about it as it’s an important part of what I do….being research-led in my practice.  In the meantime you may find these resources useful.  Please read, enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions!




4 thoughts on “What is Coaching Psychology anyway?

  1. You aree soo cool! I do not bbelieve I’ve read through a single thing liike
    this before. So good to discover someody wiyh unique
    thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. many thanks for starting thnis up.
    This site iis one thing that is needed on the internet,
    someone with a bit of originality!

    • Hi there,
      Thank you so much for this lovely comment!
      It’s not very often that people go out if their way to do something wonderful for someone else. I’m really grateful for your comment. As you know from writing a blog youself, you always hope that what you do/write, makes an impact.
      Please keep in touch….have a great week!

  2. Hi Serena.
    In your article you refer to ‘qualified’ Coach Psychologists and in my comprehension of your writing, I read that the emphasis is on the Psychology part of the ‘qualified’.

    I am curious to know what Coach Training a CP undertakes or is it a combined discipline training offered in a study course?

    Thanks as always for your insightful writing.

    • Hi James,

      Apologies for my late reply. I have just returned from holiday.

      Thank you so much for engaging with this discussion. I love your question…it’s a good one.

      A Coaching Psychologist is only such if they are first and foremost a Chartered Psychologist. In this capacity you have already undergone some form of advanced training to be able to be Chartered (which includes a knowledge of mental health issues etc). You then have to complete 2 years supervised practice (which you have to have anyway), and then by application which includes practice evidence and 2 references from 1: Your supervisor and 2: Another Chartered Psychologist has supervised/been privy to your Coaching work be submitted and assessed accordingly.

      As part of our on-going ability to be able to stay registered we also have to do on-going CPD and in this capacity many people choose to do advanced training/qualifications in addiction what they already have done. For example I have now switched my own PhD to this area of psychology.

      I guess this is where my concerns come from. Not that coaching exists. As I said I know of fantastic coaches, but even some of them feel that their trading was lacking. Also, if they have worked really hard, surely they also feel that someone who has trained in a weekend and has the same ‘title’ feels dangerous by association.

      There is no evidence of on-going CPD and supervision in general life-coaching from what I can see, though again maybe those that are more enlightened/enthusiastic are seeking this anyway?

      I hope this answers your question. I’d love to love what you think? Also, is the training the same in SA?

      Thank you too for your kinds words and I do hope that this finds you well.

      Warm wishes,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s