Coaching is to take someone where they can’t take themselves. Often by creating clarity and a vision of the future, applying a focused discipline and reach for greater heights. That often requires trust and emotional connections, however, making it hard and bothersome if done in a rough subject – but everything worth having usually is quite hard to get, isn’t it?
I’ve heard a comparison where coaching is like a mix of consulting and therapy, where I really agree, so that’s how I think of coaching nowadays.
Consulting is someone “engaged in the business of giving expert advice to people working in a professional or technical field”, “the business of giving expert advice to other professionals” or “the art of being able to look at analytical data and make an effective recommendation to a professional on what they should do in any given situation”. Slight varieties, but somewhere along those lines.
Therapy is to work with those who are ill in some way, according to most definitions. ”The treatment of mental or psychological disorders by psychological means.” or ”Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.” In psychological terms it’s often about creating behavioral change in some way.
Coaching for me and here is a mix of the two and definitely requires a focus on the future and intends to opens up a conversation about greater possibilities – and then supports the work of the coached one to achieve the goals and make the prior vision into reality. It’s a lot about teaching and often quite wide, since it’s ideally tailored to the client at hand. I mix a large variety of tools from actual therapy and consulting to philosophy where the goal is to share insight and help clients see things differently and/or learn new skills to be able to overcome obstacles. To do so there’s often a need for behavioral changes. Without change in behavior, the outcome will be the same as before, so that’s a crucial part. Behavioral changes through questioning. Plenty of it. Digging through why, how and why again to achieve new insight and ways of thinking of things. Common core themes people recognize when I implement them come from ACT or CBT, as well as physiotherapy.