I think that it is important to first outline what coaching isn’t then we will look at what it
COACHING ISN’T CONSULTING
Consultants are employed to improve a situation. They are generally external and come in to help
identify a problem and formulate a solution. A consultant will give you the answers to the
problems they have found.
COACHING ISN’T MENTORING
Mentors are generally people we look up to and want to model ourselves on in some way. They are
people who have, in our opinion, excelled in an area that we want to improve in, and we often
intend on reproducing our mentor’s journey in the hope that we gain the same success.
COACHING ISN’T THERAPY
Therapists generally work with patients who find it difficult to function within their daily
lives. The work that they do with their patients, is often centred around resolving conflict,
overcoming past issues, or healing trauma. In therapy, people are encouraged to deal with their
past so that they can exist in the present.
COACHING ISN’T A BEST FRIEND
Your best friend will no doubt have your best interests at heart, but they will also have their
opinions, their judgement and most importantly, they will have their own agenda which, however
well intended, is still based on what your best friend thinks is best for you.
So, what IS coaching?
The International Coaching
Federation (ICF) defines it as,
“A partnership with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to
maximise their personal and professional potential.”
A coach doesn’t have their own agenda and doesn’t use their personal experiences as a roadmap for
success with their client. A coach views the clients as the “experts” in their own lives, both
personal and professional. A coach will not give the client any “answers”, and will not tell you
what to do. What a coach will do is help their client to discover their own answers through
It might seem like a long road to travel and that just giving our clients advice would be easier
for everyone; the fact is that research shows people are much more likely to take ownership of
ideas and follow through on those ideas when the ideas are their own. It goes without saying
that when a client follows through on their ideas, they are exponentially more likely to achieve
the outcome they desire.
A coach’s value lies not in their personal experience of a situation but rather in their ability
to help a client draw from their own experience and wisdom to see past the inner obstacles that
might be holding them back and empowering them to move forward and take action to achieve their