I come from a consulting/advising background. So often people ask me what’s the difference between consulting services I’ve offered in the past and the coaching services I now offer. In order to do that, let’s look at other professional services and the way they compare with coaching.
Therapy: Therapy is about healing. An individual may dealing with a psychological pain due to past internal conflicts, relationships, or a dysfunction. Therapy works to overcome and resolving the pain associated with those issues. The result of therapy is to allow an individual to psychologically function in more healthy ways by resolving their past issues.
In contract, coaching focuses on the future. It looks at the actions you can accomplish now to be more successful in your personal and professional life through growth. Coaching has an emphasis on achievement. It helps you identify actionable strategies that can help you meet your goals.
Consulting: The consultant (or advisor) is the expert in this field. The consultant is knowledgeable of the issues related to your particular problem area. She may then identify your roadblocks, provide the solutions, and implement the plan for you.
Coaching, on the other hand, assumes you have the solutions to your own problem. Coaching takes an exploratory approach, allowing your to come up with answers which best meets your needs and supports your values.
Mentoring: Like consultants, mentors are experts in their field. They have experienced many of the issues a client may be encountering. She is then able to provide advice based on strategies which as worked for her.
Again, coaching looks to the client for solutions. It recognizes that methods which works for one individual doesn’t necessarily work for another. Instead, it focuses on allowing the client to come up with solutions that are individually tailored to fit the client’s vision.
Training: Training is based upon a pre-defined curriculum set by the trainer. The goal of training is to impart knowledge upon the attendees in a particular subject area. Training is often one directional, where the trainer has the experience and knowledge which the attendees absorb.
Group coaching may have a curriculum or rather can be topical. However, it goes beyond simply bestowing knowledge on the attendees. Coaching (whether individual or group) allows you to set your own objectives and goals. As the client, you are in control of the outcomes and take aways.