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Three very different disciplines, yet they’re often confused and the terms are used interchangeably.  Coaching is not Consulting or Mentoring, and vice versa.

Coaching

Coaches don’t tell the client what to do. They facilitate the client finding and implementing their own solutions.

–          What do you want to do?

–          What’s the fastest way to get there?

–          What will that give you?

–          What is it that’s stopping you?

–          How are you going to do that?

–          Where has this been an issue in the past?

–          How have you been perceiving this as a problem up until now?

Just like you get a Personal Trainer to work on your fitness, your Coach does the same for you.  They’re the motivators, accountability expert, communication expert and personal cheer squad. They’ll stretch you and ask more of you than you thought you could do.

Coaching is huge for CEO’s of private companies, including fortune 500 companies, Senior Management in the Public service and Leadership executives.  If leaders at this level in business benefit from coaching don’t you think you would too?

No matter what field of coaching it is, life, business, executive, whatever, the process and strategies are the same – it’s the focus that is different.  Coaching is designed to provide clients with a greater capacity to produce results and a greater confidence in their ability to do so.

Consulting

Consultants offer information and advice, gained from working in that particular industry.  They focus primarily on externals — processes and activities that outsiders can observe and monitor.

A Coach will ask you what you want to achieve and what you need to do to reach your goals.  A Consultant will look at the goal and say “This is what you need to do.  Do X, Y and Z by this date”

Consultants are often hired by the organisation and their focus is on the organisations goals whereas Coaches work with individuals – again often hired by the organisation – and their focus is on developing the individual.

Mentoring

A Mentor someone who is in your field but a lot further ahead than you. They’ll guide you, teach you, introduce you to others. They’ve been there and done that, you’re basically following in their footsteps.

Mentors will introduce you around their networks and help you move up the ladder.  They can be personal mentors, business mentors, or for any aspect of your life.

What am I?

I’m a Certified Professional Coach, and I also do some Consulting, and a bit of Mentoring at times.  I’m a member of the International Coach Federation and State President of the Canberra Branch of the ICF.

< rant >I do tend to get on a soapbox when people use the word ‘Coaching’ when referring to ‘Consulting’ –just because someone is a good Consultant doesn’t make them a good Coach.  Professional Coaches undergo intensive study and training to become qualified and develop their coach-specific skills. < / rant >