Thursday, April 26, 2012

What Professional Coaching Is Not?

Along with understanding what coaching is, as I wrote about in a prior post, it is just as critical to understand how coaching is unlike other helping modalities like mentoring, consulting, therapy, friendship, and even sports coaching. With this understanding, we can be sure to engage a coach to play the right role in our lives as well as to have the right expectations. Note that while coaching techniques can be utilized in any one of these roles, the role of a coach is formally distinct from each of these roles. 

Let me summarize.

1. Coaching is unlike mentoring & consulting in that coaches do not give advice from their past experience or current knowledge, but rather facilitate the client's advising themselves through various techniques of questioning, listening, affirmation and validation. A core assumption of coaching is that the client has their own answers and needs an en-courage-ing non-judgmental space within which to surface those answers. 

2. Coaching is unlike therapy in that coaches work with clients on achieving future optimal being, thinking and action, versus the healing of past wounds whose result are current emotional, psychological and relational imbalances. Professional coaches are not trained therapists though they are trained to identify situations where referral to therapy is appropriate.  Coaches may even work in tandem with a client and therapist in appropriate cases.  

3. Coaching is unlike friendship in that coaches are unencumbered with the agenda of being liked or accepted, but rather hold the client's agenda of having the result they want in their lives. This freedom allows the coach to be transparent in facilitating the client's planning, honest and credible in the client's affirmation, and unrelenting in holding the client accountable for execution.

4. Professional coaching is unlike sports coaching in that coaches focus on the creation of win/win scenarios and results in the client's life, while sports coaches, classically focus on win/lose outcomes, and for good reason. On a field of battle, one must win and render their opponent a lose, however on the field of life, one has the greater choice of rendering their stakeholder, even if an opponent, a winner also. This is the result that coaching looks  to facilitate to the degree the client is willing. 

As you can see, these are rather simple, but key, distinctions to be considered as you think about the role of a coach in your life and business.

If you want to talk more about this topic and how coaching might work for you, please reach to me at

Be well and blessed.


Sizzling LEO said...

Many people contact life coaches
to get guidance in their lives. Life coaching is the process of providing direction to the people who do not
have clear goal and aims.

navaneedh said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

Agile Coaching

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