What is coaching?
Coaching is all about setting goals, creating outcomes and making personal change.
At its core, coaching about helping you change in the way that you want to, unlocking your potential to maximise your performance and go in the direction you want, to become the person you want to be.
The International Coaching Federation ("ICF") defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership."
I describe my coaching as a process of guided discovery, where I facilitate you in finding the path to overcome challenges you face, get "unstuck" and reach your goals.
The partnership style is what really sets coaching apart. The answers for you lie within you; my role as the coach is to help you discover them. The successful partnership is bred from intent, willingness and input on both sides.
ICF notes that "partnering with a coach can change your life, setting you on a path to greater personal and professional fulfillment."
How does coaching differ from other support professions?
Coaching vs Psychotherapy
Coaches and therapists can often work with similar material but to a different end, using differing skill sets. The main differences between coaching and therapy centre around focus and purpose.
Therapy tends to emphasise emotion and the past in order to understand what is going on in the present. Coaching is more focused on the present and moving into the future. Whilst the past may be discussed in coaching this is generally in the context of understanding the stories a coachee may be telling themselves in the present and possible future. My coaching also has a positive focus, looking at visioning and setting up for success in the future.
The purpose of coaching is generally about learning and developing to improve our future, through creating actionable strategies to achieve outcomes/goals and manage self-initiated personal change; whereas therapy dives into deep-seated emotional issues, deals with or works on personal healing or recovery from trauma and/or resolving past difficulties.
It does not have to be the case that you must chose between a coach and a therapist, both can help in different areas.
Coaching vs Mentorship/Training
The key difference between coaching and mentorship or training is who sets out and determines the outcomes.
In coaching, the coachee sets the agenda for what they want to focus on, what the goals are and the outcome they want to get from the coaching experience. The coach is there to facilitate the coachee in achieving these outcomes.
Coaching does not involve the provision of advice by the coach - who knows you and what will work for you better than you? Your coach is there is to help you find the answers that you have within and are capable of discovering (even if at the moment you might be struggling to do so), through the use of supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.
Mentors provide advice and wisdom based on their own experience.
Training programme objectives are set by trainers themselves; as a coachee you will set your own objectives and desired outcomes, with guidance and support to do so provided by your coach. Training tends to have a linear learning path. Whereas coaching is less "straight line" and does not follow a set curriculum - it adapts and changes to suit you and your circumstances.