Guest Post: What is this thing called “Coaching”?

February 25, 2013

This is a guest post from my lovely yogini student Verity, who is a certified co-active coach. She is moving countries end of this month to fulfill her dreams. I’ll miss you!

FUN quote

Maybe you have met someone recently and they have said they are a life coach an executive coach or career coach? Or maybe you have just heard the buzz word being thrown about. If you haven’t you are bound to sooner rather than later…. Recent reports suggest that coaching is the second fastest growing industry in the world, next only to the IT industry.

And considering that coaching in a formal manner is a fairly new concept (although it got its name in the 1980’s); this speaks volumes about the positive benefits and advantages that coaching actually offers. Although I would say that (I am a CTI trained coach) I have also personally witnessed the changes that coaching can bring to individuals and I can without a doubt say it is pretty bloody intoxicating and powerful stuff!

So if only to make it less awkward at the next dinner party when someone proudly announces “I am a life coach” or to be more informed about one of the world’s fastest growing industries, read on… Perhaps this might even inspire you to find out if the career is for you 😉

First things first: Coaching is Relationship-based, But It’s Not Therapy or Counseling

A bicycle analogy is often used to explain the differences between coaching, consulting and therapy. A consultant would help the client understand the different types of bicycles and their characteristics, and assist in selecting the right model for the client’s needs.

A therapist would help the client overcome a problem with bicycles by examining their past experiences with bicycles, how they feel about them now, and what causes their concerns or problems with bicycles.

A coach would encourage the client to ride the bicycle and would ride alongside, offering encouragement, tips, and support while challenging the client to ride further or faster or have more fun.

Coaching is a collaborative process that facilitates the client’s ability to self-directed learning and growth, and is evidenced by sustained changes in self-understanding and behavior. It is forward looking and about potential!

Another way to make the distinction is to look to the client’s need and intention.  Generally speaking, clients seek:

• Traditional counseling when they sense something is wrong.
• Coaching when they sense something is not quite right, or off a bit, or out of balance – note the distinctions in degree, wherein things aren’t as you’d like them to be.
• Coaching when they want to focus more on changing future behavior

What is it in my words?

I see coaching as holding up a mirror to people – to see who they really are (amazing creative human beings!!) and to see what they REALLY want. It’s about lovingly pulling them up on their crap and holding them accountable for the life they say they want!

Verity Mace has been a coach for over 3 years and is a Certified Professional Co active Coach (CPCC) and a member of the ICF She works with aspiring social entrepreneurs, passionate new coaches, soon to be expats and frustrated soul searchers.

Contact: to find out more or to book a free 20 minute sample session with Verity. The best way to know about “this coaching thing” is to experience it!

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  • Reply Hiba February 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Very interesting distinction – I had never read that before! I personally think coaching is extremely powerful, but as you write, it depends on people’s objectives!

  • Reply erika February 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Great description. I love the mirror analogy. I think our greatest teachers are those who mirror us or hold a mirror up to us.

  • Reply Shama May 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I love the bicycle analogy for consultant, therapist, and coach. This is the first time that the difference is really clear to me – thanks. Also Katherine Hepburn’s quote is a good one!

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