What is Coaching and how is it different?

People often confuse coaching with counselling, but the two are very different. Counselling is usually undertaken by a qualified Psychologist, Social Worker or Counsellor, and addresses psychological conditions and emotional blocks which a person may have. Sometimes the psychological conditions may be quite severe, hence the need for specialised training in these areas. For example, a client who has high anxiety may find it difficult or confronting to try and get adequately focused to work on problems, and progress can be slow in the beginning while the client is taught relaxing and calming techniques. Counselling usually begins as problem-focused that is addressing the problem and all its facets, and as the problem dissolves, counselling moves towards being solution focused.

Coaching on the other hand is used with people not having a psychological condition, who can function well and are able to think clearly about their immediate and long term future. Coaching may involve experiential learning, and moving the client towards some desired goals with the coach assisting in this process. It is solution-focused from start to finish.

At the present coaches may be trained by undertaking a course, often online, which outlines key coaching themes and areas in which clients may need help. There are a few coaching courses now at Universities which offer undergraduate and Masters courses in Coaching, often focusing on Corporate or Business Coaching. A client needs to search for a coach who has expertise to meet their particular requirements. Some coaches will have been trained in Life Coaching, Personal and Professional Coaching models but not in Corporate Coaching. My own training was online and over a period of eighteen months focusing on Life Coaching, Personal and Professional Coaching.

Mentoring is different again with an expectation that the mentor would have experience in the topic or area a person wants help in.

For example, if you wanted to set up a new business, then ideally you would find a mentor who had experience in doing this, and particularly in the type of business you had interest in. So a mentor is neither a counsellor nor a coach but offers experienced hands on help. A person could have a coach as well as a mentor.

Why have coaching?

Although coaches would not be expected to have experience in all areas they can help you get clear in your thinking, set important goals, be committed, make better decisions, or stop procrastinating. They help you explore possibilities, roadblocks, or handle change. A good coach has quite a number of specific skills to help a person do these things and to keep you focused, motivated and accountable.

Coaching can be used to help you get more balance in your life, manage stress, set up a business, parent your children, or develop personally and professionally. A coach helps you learn time management, to study more effectively, improve your health or your emotional “IQ”, become more confident, more creative, seek a new job or improve your work performance.

Ideally coaching is founded on good theoretical perspectives from research called evidence-based coaching. This means that effective coaching concepts and tools will be used in your coaching time. The best coaching is “transformational”, enabling a client to move beyond his or her present vision of themselves to one where they are thinking and functioning at their best, and leading an exciting life.

Coaching can be face-to-face, by telephone or Skype and usually with email backup. This enables coaches to coach anyone in the world as long as the time frames coincide.

If you think coaching would be of help to you, you may search for a suitable coach on the Web. I have experience in Personal/Life/Professional coaching, and if you are interested in that area of coaching please email kr.crawford@bigpond.com or ring me on 0419 524 962.