What Coaching Is and Isn’t

Mentoring is not Coaching although there are many similarities.
Like Coaching, Mentoring can be formal or informal. Like Coaching, Mentoring is also done with respect and wisdom and is valued by the other person. However unlike Coaching, Mentors provide advice and solutions and tell what they think the other person should do.
Counseling is not Coaching. Unlike Coaching, Counseling focuses on past issues and ends in the present. Key words are “disciplinary action, personal problems and past to present”. So if you find yourself having in-depth conversations with staff about personal issues and trying to provide guidance, chances are you are not Coaching, you are Counseling them.
Training is different again. A trainer tells and demonstrates. Often it’s a one to many scenario and the trainer has a license to be quite prescriptive in his/her language and directive in their actions. Key words are “tells and demonstrates”…
Coaching in the workplace does not provide advice. It does not spend a lot of time looking into the past. It does not rely on a one way flow of telling and instructing.
Life, Business and Executive coaching all:
a)    Start in the present (not the past)
b)    Use listening and powerful questioning techniques to understand where your client is now and where they want to go so that they determine how they will get there.
c)     Are based on the philosophy that your client already know the answers to the majority of their challenges but lack confidence or insight to back their own judgment and take action.
d)    Focus on unlocking the employees’ inner wisdom so that they can solve their own problems with confidence.
Business, Executive and Life Coaches all know that in the majority of circumstances, their client has either experienced a similar problem before or know someone else who has or have the ability to come up with a variety of options and chose a solution with a little help.
The coach’s job is not to provide the solution or give advice (as a Mentor would) but to question the person to help them find and seize opportunities for themselves so that they develop their own ability to find their own solutions.
It is surprising, how a few quick guiding questions can help others on the path to see the opportunities around them and give them confidence and insight to explore them.
Information gathered from an article written by Executive Coach Juliette Robertson www.howtocoachyourstaff.com.au.

What is Coaching? from ICF Headquarters on Vimeo.