What is the difference between coaching and counseling?
Counseling generally aims to solve problems by understanding what happened in the past. Coaching is almost exclusively focused on the future, aimings to solve problems by developing confidence, tools, and self-management skills.
To counsel means to give advice. Coaches do not give advice. They use various techniques—guidance, goal setting, accountability, etc.—to facilitate the process of a person finding the best path for themselves.
So is coaching like mentoring or training?
Not really. Training involves telling individuals what to do in certain circumstances. Coaches do not tell people what to do. Mentoring often has some elements of coaching, but differs in that the mentor also offers guidance based on their experience. If you get told what to do or how to solve a problem, then you are not being coached.
Is coaching appropriate for me?
If you want a change of some sort—whether it is changing or creating a habit or behavior, improving your work-life balance, changing your career, improving your relationships, being more creative at work etc.—AND you are ready to take the necessary steps and do the work required to achieve it, then you will benefit from having a coach. If you are looking for somewhere to simply vent about your past or your circumstances, then you will likely waste your money on a coach.
How long will I need to work with a coach?
It depends on where you are, where you want to go, and how quickly you want to get there. Some people are able to achieve their goals in as little as one to three months. It is common for some people to continue working with a coach anywhere from six to eighteen months. After people realize their first goals, they often identify other areas they want to work on. The coaching relationship continues as long as there is benefit to the client.
It is important to remember that many coaching techniques and processes can be learned and practiced on your own. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, a good coach’s goal should be to reduce your dependency on them as soon as possible so that you become more resourceful and are learning to more effectively deal with new situations as they arise as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does coaching work?
Coaching is a process. It can and does evolve differently over time with each person. Following is a brief description of what happens at each stage:
Clarifying what you want
* Appreciating constraints and things outside your control
* Understanding why what you want is important to you
Defining the steps you need to take to get what you want
* Creating an action plan that is realistic and practical
* The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – what is that step?
Building and maintaining the commitment to getting what you want
* Developing a vision and helping you appreciate its importance
* Linking the various steps you need to take to that vision
* Creating an experience of what it would be like to complete that journey
Measuring your progress
* Identifying and overcoming hurdles
* Defining the milestones to help you ensure you’re on track
Celebrating your success
* Finally, acknowledging your success with each step you take toward where you want to be