In simple terms, COACHING is a professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses and/or organizations, helping them to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. Clients are the experts on their own lives and the coach’s job is to listen, make observations, ask powerful questions, and hold up a mirror to help the clients see what they may not see in themselves. If this is COACHING, then What is NOT COACHING?
There has been so much misunderstanding and confusion on what COACHING actually is amongst people unfamiliar to the field of COACHING. Below, I’m shedding light on the differences between COACHING and other professions such as Therapy, Counseling, Mentoring, Consultancy and Training.
Therapy typically focuses on healing the wounds of the past. It deals with healing pain, dysfunction, and conflict within an individual or in relationships. Counseling is usually focused on a specific issue for a limited amount of time. COACHING, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth. It focuses primarily on the future. COACHING is for those who are emotionally and mentally healthy and ready to grow: the emphasis is on action, accountability, and follow-through.
Mentoring relies on a more experienced person, a mentor, passing down their knowledge, wisdom, and guidance to the challenges individuals, called “mentees”, are facing. This can create a dependency on external expertise of a mentor which can become expensive and unsustainable for a leader or organization. The COACHING process does not include advising and is not a knowledge transfer process, instead the focus is on the individual or group to reach their own objectives.
Consultancy is a 100% telling approach whereby the consultant is the expert who gives advice and may even act on behalf of the client; Consultancy, provided by external experts, again risks creating a dependency on outside expertise. COACHING is about facilitating people’s thinking and helping them learn on life & work issues.
Training is a skill transfer process from the trainer to the client through writing, instruction, hands-on projects, etc. Training sessions are structured, formal and typically done in group settings. There may be an assessment at the end of the training to evaluate whether the participant or client has gained a thorough understanding of the subject matter. COACHING is both a client & future driven process, a development-focused approach done often in a group setting or one-on-one, emphasizing a change in emotions, thoughts and behaviors, resulting in the implementation of appropriate actions to achieve the desired objectives.
Each of the above professions has its own value and is legitimate according to the prevailing circumstances of the individual and/or group. Credentialed certified professional coaches are trained & skilled to spot indicators leading to refer their clients to other professions, when needed, in order to maximize the value of their investment.