Q) Define Professional Coaching: The International Coach Federation defines coaching as follows:

“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”

Q) What exactly is coaching? The best way to answer this is to clarify what coaching is not:

Coaching is not Therapy Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict generally arising from the past that impedes an individual in the present. Coaching, on the other hand, supports the individual’s growth in the present, while looking forward to achieving personal or professional success created from self-initiated change.  In a nutshell, Coaching is future oriented with an emphasis on action, accountability and follow through.  The self-driven, self-navigated and self-measured success may in fact result in positive feelings and emotions, but those emotions are a natural outcome of coaching, not the primary goal.

Coaching is not Consulting Consultants are retained for their expertise in diagnosing and prescribing solutions to issues that may or may not include their contribution to ultimate implementation.  Coaching bases it’s contribution on the belief that each individual is their own best expert.  They diagnose and prioritize their own issues, prescribe and implement suitable solutions their own pace, while their coach offers accountable approaches to their successes.

Coaching is not Mentoring A mentor provides wisdom and guidance based on their knowledge, experience or both.  It may include advising, counseling and coaching when imparting the knowledge to be shared. The coaching process excludes advising or counseling, and relies instead, on individuals or groups defining their objectives, the processes and time-line to achieve them, and finally the way to measure and celebrate their successes.

Coaching is not Training Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Coaching objectives are set by the individual or team being coached, with navigational guidance provided by the coach. Training also follows and established curriculum. Coaching does not have a pre-set curriculum and instead, follows the path and goal set by the coachee/s themselves.

Coaching is not Sports Professional coaching is different from sports coaching in that the athletic coach guides and directs the strategy of individuals or teams.  A Professional coach while possessing qualities is guided by the experience and knowledge of the individual/s who determine their own strategy, rather than the pre-determined or plan of the coach. Additionally, where athletic development may focus on behaviors that are being poorly or incorrectly executed, coaching focuses on identifying established or new opportunities for growth based on individual strengths and capabilities.