At various times in your career (perhaps a new role, new working relationships or new and future challenges to which the ‘usual’ responses are unlikely to be effective, ...)can be useful to think about making use of the support (and challenge) offered by an external coach. Coaching provides an effective way to reflect on and develop personal insight and effectiveness within the context of a confidential ‘off-line’ relationship.
The issues or concerns that you may consider for coaching do not have to be "major career-defining ones"; they can be but for example, it can also be equally useful and legitimate to use coaching to identify and established need for change in patterns of behaviour which are no longer helpful or where there maybe a mismatch between role expectations and personal confidence. There is a huge diversity of issues on your personal and organizational leadership effectiveness that maybe enhanced by appropriate coaching interventions.
Ultimately one can say that the purpose of coaching is to enable people to behave more effectively in achieving their goals, using their potencial in the best way. Coaching is then usually seen as a process that focus goals with emphasising the client's ability to think, feel and behave differently. This is way coaching is different from a mentoring relationship that allows for mutual exploration of issues for both parties. And coaching also differs from counselling since it does not attempt to solve personal problems.
Altough many cases, discussions and doubts still arise from the potential between theses three processes, facts show that coaching is most usefully to use to make a positive difference in the work setting, which is linking to leadership development.