Coaching services are everywhere and especially to be found via social media. Quotes here and quotes there all luring you in and selling you a better future. Yet what are the benefits of being coached?
With a growing number of coaches emerging in an array of disciplines many people still confuse coaching with counselling, mentoring or even consulting. Yet there are distinct differences.
Coaching isn’t anything new either. It is believed that the term ‘coach’ was initially started back in 1830 at Oxford University when describing a tutor. It was also thought that the study of psychology emerged early on in the 18th century.
By the 1960s with the humanist movement well underway, referencing to coaching and human resources in business began. Perhaps where the confusion lie is in the term ‘counselling’ which back then was the word used in the business domain to describe helping staff prosper. It was only in the 1970s and 80s when, in the US, coaching was finally understood to be an essential resource to support business that the term ‘coach’ was properly introduced.
As the book ‘The Successful Coaching Manager’ states:
“People get confused between coaching and training and coaching and mentoring. Some others think coaching is therapy of some sort and that only ‘remedials’ need coaching.”
It goes on to state:
“Coaching delivers what training can only promise.”
Below are some general guidelines as to what to expect from a counsellor, a mentor, a consultant and also a coach. I hope this clears up any uncertainty and encourages you to pursue some coaching, consultancy or mentoring sessions with me. After all I do have a number of different hats …
If you’re going through a challenging time a counsellor will help you gain clarity and perspective of the problems you are facing. A client is given space to be open and honest about their feelings with the view to becoming more confident about what is and what isn’t working in their life. A counsellor will help a client deal with issues from the past that stops a client from moving forward. A client isn’t told what to do, nor are they given a bias toward certain cultures or traditions. Counselling is you having space to talk about your problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment.
- Short-term intervention
- Can be used to address psychological and social issues
- Broad focus and depth agreed by both client and counsellor
- As a client you would be expected to do the talking
- As a client you would be given the space to offload and gain clarity
I am not a counsellor. I do not have a counselling hat.
If you’ve got some idea as to what you are doing yet need a professional to steer you in the right direction then mentoring is for you. The mentoring agenda is set by the mentee and tends to focus on the future. It is a powerful personal development and empowerment tool. Ideally a mentor would have a mutual understanding of your area of interest. The relationship is more informal than coaching, as meetings can take place as and when the mentee needs advice, guidance or support.
- An ongoing often long term relationship
- Mostly used for career and personal development
- Agenda is set by the mentee with full support by mentor
- As a mentee you would be expected to be open whilst the mentor, usually more experienced and qualified, provides you with ideas and suggestions
- As a mentee you would be expected to receive support in your chosen area of interest
I currently mentor through the Chartered Institute of Marketing as a Chartered Marketer, and am willing to take additional mentor bookings directly. Do get in touch to discuss. I offer mentoring sessions with a focus on career, marketing, small business and business start-ups. I have a mentor hat.
If you are looking for someone to analyse and advise you on the best possible choices for you or your business then a consultant is what you need. A client, normally a business owner or representative, will hire a consultant to view their situation with a fresh perspective. Consultants are usually expected to provide advice, make recommendations and excel at problem solving.
- Although the time period varies in length, consultancy is seen as short-term intervention for long term gain
- Is normally used for start-ups, fledgling or businesses that realise change is necessary to move forward
- Agenda is discussed and agreed by the client and the consultant although the consultant will deliver findings that require the client to take some form of action
- As a client you would expect the consultant to ask plenty of questions
- As a client you can sit back and wait for the findings
I have experience of consulting in business: sole trader, SME and Multinational business. I have a consultant hat.
Tom Landry summed up coaching perfectly:
“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, and has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you can be.”
As a client you will be asked to define areas of your life that are important to you at that given moment. You could well be interrupted, as a coach’s job is to keep you on track, help you define your goals and help you in your transition toward them. You would normally be expected to choose a particular area of focus for each session. However don’t be alarmed if you touch on other life areas in the process. A coach uses given tools that when applied to your life can help provide you with focus, drive and increased performance.
- There is normally a set duration for client sessions and invariably these are used for a relatively short-term intervention yet have a long-term focus
- A coach will not be your counsellor and will not seek to resolve any psychological problems. Instead a coach will look at areas of your life that are important to you at that given moment; on any given topic
- A coach does not tell you what you should do, impose their views, nor does a coach involve any pre-conceptions, make comparisons with others, or use demeaning behaviour as a ‘teaching’ tool
- As a client you will be presented with specific questions
- As a client you can expect to be kept on track
- You can expect to be gently challenged
As a certified coach I also offer coaching sessions predominantly performance coaching with a focus on career and business. I have a coaching hat.
One thing that is a commonality between coaching, counselling, consulting and mentoring is communication. Effective communication. Communicate clearly, concisely and openly and don’t be afraid of saying too much. What often goes wrong is when a client holds back pertinent information that may well be the secret to their development.