It’s not therapy. Although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving, etc., therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person to move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented, for people who are basically clear of psychological and emotional issues.
It’s not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. They may use some coaching techniques, but mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom.
It’s not training. In training, the trainer sets the agenda. Change comes from outside the participant, via the trainer. In coaching, you set the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within you.
It’s not authoritarian. Did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. Your coach will push you beyond what you might think you can do, but will always be supportive. You are in control. The responsibility to decide and act is yours.
What Coaching Isn’t
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