As important as it is to understand what Coaching is, it is just as important to understand what Coaching is not.
Coaching v Mentoring
- Coaching and mentoring are often terms that are thrown together as if they are the same thing. They are vastly different disciplines.
- A person is mentoring when they are sharing their own experience.
- In coaching sharing our own experience is very much a last resort.
- The answer is always within the individual.
- In coaching, the preference is to skilfully explore, through intelligent, open and curiosity-based questions, as many options for a solution that is generated from the participant.
- People are far more likely to follow through on answers and solutions they have established, and also, through the very act of finding the answers within themselves, the participant becomes more resourceful in the future, less reliant upon external help, and more confident in their inner ability to resolve whatever issues they face.
- As a very last resort the coach may, in their discretion, and only with the participants permission, offer context by sharing their own experience, if it will serve the client in moving toward what it is they are intending to achieve.
Coaching v Counselling/Therapy
- Coaching is mainly proactive where counselling is generally reactive.
- Unless qualified in counselling or other psychological therapies, we, as coaching professionals must know the limits of our expertise.
- In the event of you sensing the participant would be better served by counselling or therapy, you must disengage very sensitively.
- The coach should never recommend any specific therapist unless qualified to do so.
Coaching v Teaching/Facilitating/Training
- Whenever someone is sharing content, be that in the context of teaching, facilitating or training, they are not coaching.
- Guiding someone through a linear and static personal growth curriculum is not coaching it is facilitating.
- The coaching process is an open process, able to flex and go wherever the consciousness of the individual takes it in the pursuit of helping that individual move forwards to the success they intend for their lives.
- In coaching, a question is only relevant in the moment, and its value and impact cannot be deciphered until it’s been asked.
Coaching v A Good Friend
- Whatever is shared with a coach remains confidential, aside from any gross infringements of the law.
- A coach is 100% committed to the success of the participant.
- A coach has no judgement on whether a decision is right or wrong, the coach will support you in observing the consequences of your actions and decisions to learn and modify the approach for improved action.
- A friend may not be willing to challenge your assumptions or beliefs because they fear upsetting or alienating you.
- A friend is also not a coach, so they are more likely to advise than help you seek answers within yourself. There is a risk of the advice not being the most productive.