What Coaching is NOT
Coaching is not therapy
Therapists are medical professionals who diagnose and treat mental health issues. Coaching can complement therapy, but a coach CANNOT diagnose or treat a mental illness.
Coaching is not training
Training is meant to teach someone a particular skill or competency or impart a specific piece of knowledge (eg. PowerPoint, Excel, organizational history, or time management)
Coaching increases awareness about attitudes and behaviors, which can improve the impact of training, but the coach does not “teach” or “train” a coachee
Coaching is not mentoring
A mentors is passing on wisdom and information from experience and acquired expertise and in this way, acts as a teacher
A coach intentionally does not provide advice and seeks to encourage self-reliance and resourcefulness
Coaching is not consulting
A consultant provides solutions and is expected to, and responsible for, gathering information and advising
A coach is responsible for holding space for a coachee, asking questions, and facilitating a space where an increase in self-awareness can take place
Therapy, training, mentoring, and consulting are all important and valid tools for growth and development, but they are distinct from coaching.
One of the most common misconceptions about coaching is that coaches offer advice, but advice is often not what people really want, or need, and can be disempowering.
Have you ever been talking to someone, a friend, colleague, or partner, where you just wanted to process your thoughts, think aloud, and be listened to, but then the listener jumped to offering advice and you just felt criticized, unheard, or misunderstood?
Unsolicited advice is criticism, always.
And I think even the advice we ask for can sometimes feel hollow, because it's coming from another person's perspective and experience, and doesn't appreciate the nuance of our unique needs.
That's why coaching is about exploring your own thoughts and perspectives and coming to your own conclusions. That's what makes it a unique and powerful tool.
Coaching is empowering, and acknowledges a person's resourcefulness and creativity.
What questions do you still have about coaching?
What misconceptions have you heard?
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