What isn’t Coaching?

Sand sculpture of Freud with a patient (Image by RHaworth)While the true coaching process is essentially simple, you should recognize that there is a lot of misunderstanding out there about what coaching entails. Clients frequently seek out professional coaches without knowing exactly what the process entails. As a coach, you must be able to spot some common misconceptions immediately in order to correct their perception of what coaching is all about. In a nutshell, coaching is not:

  • Therapy – Many people who have not been exposed to professional coaching before incorrectly assuming that the process is essentially a less formal version of psychological therapy. While clients do discuss some of the obstacles that they are facing with their coach, life and business coaches are focused on the present and the future rather that resolving issues from the past.
  • Counseling – Counseling deals with treating a specific issue such as bereavement or marital distress by providing patients with advice and suggestions for moving forward. Coaches deal with a client’s personal or professional life as a whole and refrain from giving direct advice or guidance.
  • Mentoring – The coaching and mentoring processes have a few things in common, but they are not interchangeable terms. Mentors frequently use coaching techniques to help their students, but they also provide them with tutelage and direct advice. The purpose of coaching is based solely on guiding clients to overcome obstacles and reach goals on their own.
  • Training – Training is a process that assumes that a person does not already have the experience, knowledge and resources necessary to reach their goals. Coaching is a process that’s based on the assumption clients already have what they need to succeed and just need someone to help them realize it for themselves.
  • An Activity – Lastly, coaching is neither an activity or an event; it’s a process. Coaches help clients change their perspectives on their goals and obstacles, and the process is about much more than attending a coaching session itself.

This article is a brief abstract from a core learning module included in a Coaching Jump Start program provided to our association and Power Practice Network members. As a member, you will gain access to our four key courses and Success Tools Pro, which provides a constant update of tools and resources for building your practice.

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