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What Coaching is Not

Coaching differs from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, and counseling. However, there is nothing that suggests one is better than another, or that they can't coexist. Each has its own positive benefits and is appropriate in certain situations. The coaching process examines the present, uncovers obstacles and challenges, establishes goals, and defines a course of action to help you live an authentic life. Coaching is not better than these other services, only different.

Coaching vs Counseling and Therapy

Coaching is not counseling or therapy. Where therapists work towards emotions, coaches work towards outcomes. Counseling and therapy are problem and past-focused - healing emotional wounds of the past that obstruct an individual’s emotional functioning in the present. Coaching is solution and future-focused, emphasising action, accountability, and follow-through. Coaching is for those who are emotionally and mentally healthy and ready to grow.

Coaching vs Mentoring

Coaching is not mentoring. A ‘mentor’ is generally a trusted advisor in an area where the mentor has more experience than the person being mentored. This type of relationship is common in the business world, where a more experienced employee helps a new employee learn the ropes of a specific job function and the company work environment.

Coaching focuses on the internal person, not external skills, functions, or surroundings. The role of the coach is not to help the client learn a new skill or navigate a new environment, but to remove inner limitations to the individual’s growth across life as a whole.

Coaching vs Training

Coaching is not training. Training is usually learning-focused and involves the imparting or transferring of knowledge from the trainer to the student through writing, instruction, hands-on projects, etc. Often there is a formal assessment of the student’s skills at the end of the training program.

Coaching is development-focused. The coach may not be an expert in the client’s particular field. The coach sees the client as the expert on their own lives. The coach’s job is to listen, make observations, ask powerful questions, and hold up a mirror to help the client see what they may not see in themselves. Coaching focuses on helping the client take responsibility for identifying their own goals; assessing their own strengths and areas for development; and identifying their own solutions for moving forwards.

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