What Exactly Is Coaching?

Learn all about what coaching is and what coaching is not!

If you haven't already asked yourself this question, it's important that you do so before you consider becoming a professional coach. There are many misconceptions out there, and understanding what coaching is not can be just as important as knowing what coaching actually is.

What Coaching is NOT
Coaching often suffers from a case of mistaken identity; sometimes being confused with consulting, mentoring, or therapy. But, it's none of those - though coaching incorporates aspects of each of those modalities.

Coaching is not Consulting. Clients hire consultants to identify problems and formulate solutions to fix them. Consultants are experts in what needs to be done, and once they come up with a plan for the client, the consultant's job is usually complete.

Coaches view their clients as being the "experts" in their own lives and businesses, and partner with them to help implement a plan they both create. And that's why coaches do not tell clients what to do, but instead, facilitate discovery of their own answers. Truth is, people are more likely to get excited about and follow through on ideas they help develop rather than those that are offered to them by someone else. The coach's expertise is in providing guidance, tools, and methods for clients to improve their own ability to implement solutions, now and in the future.

Consultants identify problems and formulate solutions; coaches provide tools and support to empower clients to develop and implement their own solutions.

Coaching is not Mentoring. A mentor helps guide a client to emulate the mentor's own success. Mentors are often chosen because they have travelled the same road the client is on. In contrast, coaches empower clients to discover their own paths. A coach's value lies not in their technical know-how or specific knowledge about their client's issues or field of expertise, but in the ability to help clients draw from their own experience and wisdom so that they can move forward.

A mentor stands in front of the client and says, "Follow me."
A coach stands beside the client and asks, "Where shall we go?"

Coaching is not Therapy. Therapists help their clients to become fully functional individuals. Often, this requires fixing problems, overcoming issues and challenges from the past, healing, and, sometimes, managing mental illness. Therapy deals most often with the past, so that a patient can exist more fully in the present.

A therapist usually helps the client heal by figuring out "why," while a coach helps the client move forward by focusing on "how." Coaches help clients focus on their plans for the future through a results-oriented process that moves them from functional to optimal performance... and, often, from optimal to OUTSTANDING!

Therapy examines the past to help a client cope with the present; Coaching builds on the present to create the future.

What Coaching IS
The focus on attaining one's potential is what sets traditional coaching apart from the problem-solving, expert opinion, and coping strategies of other modalities. In a nutshell, other helping professions were created to solve problems. In consulting, mentoring, and therapy, the helper is the authority, and the client is looking for answers. In coaching, coach and client work together as a team. Coaching is focused on what's working in order to build upon success.

We said earlier that coaching incorporates the best aspects of consulting, mentoring, and therapy. There are times when coaches act like consultants, suggesting new ideas from their intuition, knowledge, and experience. Like mentors, coaches can certainly provide valuable insight into their client's experiences or situations. And, like therapists, coaches sometimes "visit" the past to understand the present.

Coaching focuses on partnering with individuals to create the future they envision. It's about challenging and supporting people to achieve higher levels of performance, while allowing them to bring out the best in themselves and those around them.

What GREAT Coaching IS
The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) takes traditional coaching a step further. Our Core Energy Coaching™ process assists clients to understand and act from their visions and values. It helps them reshape their ways of thinking, feeling, and acting in order to become who they really want to be. Not only is this process unique to iPEC; it's unique in its unparalleled results.

Core Energy Coaching is a POWERFUL and TRANSFORMATIVE process that brings out the absolute best in a client - by emotionally connecting their inner purpose and passion to their outer goals and actions.

Ask yourself: "Could coaching be what I've been looking for?"

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