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Coaching, mentoring & therapy

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Which one is right for you?

You may have some questions about what makes coaching distinctive and different from mentoring or therapy. This is often the first question I’m asked as a coach so here is a brief outline of how they differ.

Coaching is first a foremost a conversation that brings clarity, insight and leads to action. The International Coach Federation defines it as a “partnership with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process”. It is a conversation that always leans towards maximising personal and professional potential.

When talking to a mentor makes sense:

If you’re starting out in a new work role which represents a shift or leap in your career arc, an industry expert or mentor would shed light on how your experience compares to other professionals. Their expertise and perspective can help you learn from other people’s mistakes, experiences, and professional training.

When talking to a therapist makes sense:

Therapists do not offer business expertise and guidance or the same kind of self-directed decision making as coaches or mentors. Most specialise in helping if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed or noticing changes in your normal behaviour and lifestyle or struggling with unusually low self-confidence and anxiety.

When talking to a coach makes sense:

Coaches are interested in listening, not in giving advice.

You should view your coach as an equal; a highly invested yet objective partner.

A coach is not normally an expert in your field - this frees them from telling you to follow in their footsteps

A coach creates time for you to think and works in service of what matters to you.

3 reasons you want to work with a coach:

  • Clarity = the ability to confidently explore those things that matter to you right now.

  • Insight = the awareness to understand the significance of what is under the spotlight.

  • Action = the energy to make decisions, define the most meaningful outcome and reflect on your progress.

For those who want the facts and figures on workplace coaching:

80% of respondents reported an improvement in self-confidence

72% of respondents described an improvement in communication skills

70% of respondents reported an improvement in workplace performance

96% of respondents would repeat the process of working with a dedicated coach

For those who value connection, and accountability:

If you want a trusted, confidential partner who creates a space for you to explore and be heard - yet is willing to challenge when needed - that’s exactly what a coach provides. For complete peace of mind you should ensure that your coach is fully qualified, supervised and credentialed with a relevant coaching body.

(ICF Global Coaching Client Study)

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