What Coaching Is Not

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Coaching is an enabling process that helps the client reach his goal on his own (Photo credit)

I have written posts on coaching before to explain what is coaching and how it can help you. The aim was to throw some light on the concept and share information on how coaching works. People still ask me a lot of questions to relate coaching to a concept they already know. One such question on Twitter today prompted me to write this post. I’ve written about what coaching is but probably I should also explain what it is not. And how it is different from terms like mentoring and counselling that it is often confused with.

Coaching is not training: Since I have been a communication trainer for so many years, many people tend to confuse coaching with training when I talk about it. They think that a coaching session with me will involve me telling them how to improve their skills. Training is about teaching a specific set of skills. But coaching is about enabling the client reach a goal by himself through exploratory open ended questions. Training usually happens in a group while coaching is mostly one-to-one.

Coaching is not tutoring: I have lived in Delhi for a few years and people from there will totally understand this one. The word ‘coaching’ has a specific meaning, connotation if you will, thanks to the ubiquitous coaching centres across the city that ‘coach’ people on cracking various entrance exams. And true enough, it was someone from Delhi who asked me today, if I ‘coach’ in an ‘institute’ and I had to direct him to this blog. Need I explain that this ‘coaching’ has nothing to do with that type of coaching!

Coaching is not counselling: I’ve come across clients who want to talk to me when they feel upset or want to vent out. I think this is because after their one to one coaching sessions with me, they understand coaching as a time they can spend talking to someone about their problems. I can see how the anomaly arises. However, coaching is not about dwelling in the past or indulging in negative emotions. It’s about positively moving towards a goal and achieving it.

Coaching is not mentoring: A mentor is usually someone older or senior who teaches someone new the ropes of a job. It could be related to skills or overall grooming of someone who wishes to prepare for higher posts. A coach doesn’t have to be one’s senior in office and can be an external person too. Also, coaching is about letting the coachee make an action plan best suited to him rather than showing how it is done.

The internet has tons of articles differentiating these concepts and setting them apart. I have tried to do this in the simplest possible manner. If you still have any questions, feel free to drop me a line in the comments or mail em on my contact page and I will get in touch with the answers. If you are on Twitter, let’s connect on @Suman_Kher.

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