The difference between coaching and similar professions


In our previous blog, we explained what coaching is and how coaches should lead their clients to results. But a lot of times, you can hear that people mix coaching with similar professions that actually have different structures, methods and systems. We want you to have a clear understanding of what coaching is and is not, so take several minutes and read more about common mistakes that people make.

Coaching and Mentoring

There are some similarities that you might see between coaching and mentoring, as they are both typically one-to-one conversations aimed at facilitating some kind of development, but there are also significant differences. A mentor is usually a more senior person who shares experience and advises a junior person working in the same field or having the same problem. A coach uses questions and feedback to facilitate the other person’s thinking and practical learning. A good coach will let you find your own answer, and a mentor will give you one.

Coaching and Counseling

Counseling and therapy deal with personal problems and childhood experiences that might be the reason for someone’s present behavior and actions - coaching addresses more the challenges of personal and professional life, and overcoming them. Counseling always begins with a problem and is sought by people having difficulties – coaching can begin with a goal or aspiration and is used by high achievers as much as beginners or people who are stuck. Finally, coaches help their clients get clear on what they want in the future, why they want it, and how they are going to achieve it.

Coaching and Consulting

Consultants diagnose the needs of an organization or individual and offer their own solutions based on their specialized expertise to ‘fix’ the problem. Coaches, by asking open-ended questions, understand the challenge that the person is facing. The coach doesn’t offer solutions; he/she lets the client find their own solution. Coaches also use tools and processes to help clients be accountable for achieving their own goals.

Coaching and Sports Coach

Someone new to coaching might hear the word "coach" and think about football, basketball, etc. Sports coaches generally are in charge, they set the goals, change team members and create the path to victory. Teaching, correcting, motivating and managing are all skills a sports coach would use. Professional life, business or executive coaching is the opposite; it's the client who sets the goals, creates the path to victory and is in charge of their own development – not the coach.

Coaching and NLP

Often people can’t differentiate between coaching and NLP. That’s due to two reasons. The first one is the fact that a large number of NLP techniques can be used as support techniques in coaching, and the second reason is that many NLP schools expand their portfolios with coaching training without clear distinctions from NLP.

NLP is a methodology that deals with identifying, describing and applying successful strategies from one person to another or from one area of life to others. It studies how people react to personal experiences and how they give meaning and importance to experience through language and behavior. In contrast, coaching is a structured method of communication that allows a client to identify his/her most important goals and personal values. The coach helps the client to define appropriate strategies and supports the client in taking action steps to achieve the desired result.

You should also know that there are different areas of coaching, like: business, life, health, executive, personal finance, lifestyle, etc. Now that we’ve piqued your interest, follow our blog (link to your blog section) so that you can find out much more about coaching, coaching techniques and coaching in practice.

Also, find out more about the upcoming coaching training “The Art and Science of Coaching” that we are organizing in September.