What Coaching Isn’t

Coaching is not therapy.

Although many of the underlying techniques are similar, therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person to move forward. Coaching is future and action-oriented, and it assumes that clients are starting from a place of relative psychological health.
(Therapy can be helpful — but it is not coaching.)

Coaching is not mentoring

A mentor is an expert in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to another. A mentor may use similar techniques to a coach, but a mentor serves as an advisor and teacher to one who is younger or inexperienced. In a mentoring relationship, the expertise rests with the mentor and the other must learn from and adapt the mentor’s experience to their own circumstance and setting.
(Mentoring can be helpful — but it is not coaching.)

Coaching is not training

In training, the trainer sets the agenda and creates the curriculum or the experience. The trainer is the expert. You may not need more information — what you likely need is to apply what you already know. Coaches utilize adult learning principles to motivate change from within the client. In coaching, the client sets the agenda and the client is the expert.
(Training can be helpful — but it is not coaching.)

Coaching is not authoritarian

Did you have a tough sports coach when you were younger who yelled at you and punished you if you made a mistake? The sports coach is the expert and the players must learn from and follow the coach’s direction. That’s not what life coaching (or leadership coaching) is or does. Both coaches will push you beyond what you think you can do — but your life coach will always be supportive and you are always in control. You set the agenda. You are the expert in your life and setting. You set your action items to move toward your goals.
(Youth sports can be helpful — but it is not the same type of coaching.)

A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear,
who has you see what you don’t want to see,
so you can be who you have always known you could be.

Tom Landry

What Coaching Is
What Coaching Isn’t
Why Coaching Works
Why Use a Coach
How Christian Coaching Is Unique

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