Coaching is Not…

Many clients are unclear of what to expect from coaching.  Some of my clients come to their first coaching sessions expecting me to tell them what to do, focus on their past behaviors, or fix them.  I explain coaching focuses on the present, goal setting, and forward movement.  As a coach, I view my clients as naturally, creative, resourceful and whole.  They have the solution.  They may not realize it, but they do!  It is my job to help them uncover the solution and to create action.

A colleague from the local ICF Chapter created the below distinctions between Coaching and other service professions.

What other distinctions stand out for you?

Therapist:  Can deal with past patterns that don’t work and with intense emotions; Analyzes problems to find out “why?”; Often focuses on non-functional behaviors; Model: something is wrong that needs fixing

Coach:  Focuses on present and future; Questions rather than analyzes; Approaches client as a whole healthy human being; Model: curiosity drives questions to help the client discover his/her own strengths and greatness

Mentor: Has a stake in the outcome; Is viewed as the expert; Typically has a student-teacher duality; Focused on career successes and progress; Gives advice and shows how to do

Coach:  Detached from outcome; Partners with client in learning; Finds out what is important to the client in the journey; Emphasis on contribution to the whole person

Manager:  Primary objective is the company’s mission; Focused on the career area and achievement; Has a large stake in the outcome; Provides solutions, direction and advice; Transmits information from one level of the organization to another

Coach:  Primary objective is the client’s well-being and success; Helps client understand the link between personal mission and company mission; Focuses on the entire person, all life areas; Is detached from the outcome; Does not problem solve, provide solutions or advice; Keeps information confidential

Consultant:  Has specific area of expertise; Shares expertise with the client; Gives advice and/or solutions; Consultant does the work

Coach:  Facilitates the process of creating awareness and responsibility; Helps the client learn how to find solutions; Client does the work


4 thoughts on “Coaching is Not…

  1. Pingback: Five Blogs – 5 March 2014 | 5blogs

  2. Reblogged this on Passini & Grossmann and commented:
    Setting expectations upfront about coaching

    In this short but very effective post, the author brings a very good distinction between coaching and other disciplines such as therapy, mentoring, management and consulting.
    In my professional (and personal experience) so far, there is nothing more powerful and important than setting expectations. If you do it right, the path is clearer and better laid out for you and your client. So setting the expectations about what coaching is and is not is one critical step before initiating the coaching sessions per se.
    And it is even more important in the current scenario where coaching is increasingly becoming more popular, and so we run the risk of having misconceptions about what it really is.
    The coaches already know this but let me reinforce it: it is vital that you spend some time with your client setting the right expectations for the work. Even if your client does not think it is important or does not have the time for it. If you are a client, make sure your coach addresses the nature of the work and what you can expect upfront. It is a well spent time.

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