Language coaching

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From the beginning of the twenty first century, the term language coaching started to become used more and more in the field of language teaching and language learning.[1][2]

Theoretically, language coaching encompasses the teaching and training of foreign languages but incorporates principles, models and competences from the field of life coaching. These principles, competences and models may originate from coaching organisations themselves such as the International Coach Federation in the USA or from particular coaching models or practices such as GROW.

Thus, the whole process behind life coaching, such as goal setting, action and strategy setting, reviewing goals and really getting coachees to focus on personal development and accomplish feats step by step is then transported into the language learning process.

The development of language coaching in the language teaching world is on the rise and more and more language teachers appear to be calling themselves language coaches. It is often difficult to distinguish between unqualified language teachers, qualified language teachers, language teachers with a specialization such as ESP (English for Specific Purposes) and now language coaches. It is also not clear if so called language coaches have any coaching qualifications or experience as life coaches.

Neurolanguage Coaching

In 2012, Rachel Marie Paling from Efficient Language Coaching™ defined Neurolanguage Coaching as follows:

Neurolanguage Coaching™ is the efficient and fast transfer of language knowledge and skills from the Language Coach to the Language Coachee with sustainable effects facilitated by brain-based coaching and coaching principles and neuroscience.” © 2012 Rachel M. Paling[3]

Paling wrote an article to distinguish the differences between language coaching and language teaching[4] in 2013, and this was echoed in the article by Dimitris Zeppos in a table demonstrating the principal differences between language teaching and language coaching:

Table 1. Comparison between Characteristics of Neurolanguage Coaching and Traditional Language Teaching[5]
Language Coaching Language Teaching
  • Active learning
  • Motivation takes top priority
  • Empathy is important
  • Passive
  • Coach has ability to keep client engaged, motivated, valued and committed
  • It could sometimes be described as mainly a one-way process
  • Client takes responsibility and ownership
  • Flexible and self-directed
  • Book related – following chapters and the order of language learning books
  • Normally no books are used
  • Often limited to the materials/books used
  • There is an equal status coach and learner
  • There is an awareness of limitations
  • Matches the needs of the client
  • Teacher takes the role as the expert denoting a superior status
  • The relationship between the teacher and the learner is often not so close nor is it a realistic or personalized experience
  • Often encompasses a more formal approach
  • “Teaching” is kept to a minimum
  • Continuous feedback and acknowledgement
  • Stimulates reflexion
  • Instructive and mandatory
  • Directional
  • Demonstrative
  • Coach has the ability to adapt to the client
  • Client focused and tailor-made
  • With groups – often trial and error – not tailored to individuals
  • Often the subject must be learnt, so the teacher is interested in the topic but the learner is not
  • One objective is to maximize the potential of the learner
  • Often does not take into account the social context and cultural interaction of the learner
  • Focus on cost effectiveness
  • Normally not cost-effective and no awareness relating to cost-effectiveness

In the last two years, Paling has clarified and clearly delineated the field of Language Coaching and Neurolanguage Coaching and created a Language Coaching Certification for already qualified language teachers to enhance their expertise with coaching training and with the knowledge of neuroscience and how the brain likes to learn. A study regarding the profile of such neurolanguage coaches in the world has recently been conducted by Dimitris Zeppos.[6]


  1. ^ Dimitrios Thanasoulas (2002) 'The changing winds and shifting sands of the history of English Language Teaching' Online at
  2. ^ Tony Corballis (2006) 'White Paper' Online at Corballis Communication Ltd
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ World Journal of Education Vol. 4, No. 6; 2014 Published by Sciedu Press 30 ISSN 1925-0746 E-ISSN 1925-0754
  6. ^ World Journal of Education Vol. 4, No. 6; 2014 Published by Sciedu Press 30 ISSN 1925-0746 E-ISSN 1925-0754