It is good to be clear about how coaching is different to other professions...

Coaches don’t give advice. Coaches support you to find the answers within yourself by creating more and more awareness. So you wouldn’t expect a coach to give you medical, legal or financial advice, but she may help you to understand that you might want to seek that advice to achieve your goals.

Therapy or Counselling

Simply stated, a therapist generally works in the past while coaching works in the present and in the future. Your coach may refer you to a counsellor or therapist, but she wouldn’t work with emotional or psychological issues in the way a mental health professional might. Your coach will know if referral to one of those services is more appropriate.

Sometimes we believe that an issue from the past must be “known” or “healed” before we can move forward. But I believe that “needing to know why” can be unproductive, because after all, can we ever really know? At best we can make up a story. But for every story we can imagine, there are many more that could be equally true. I like to suspend or altogether eliminate the question of “why” and move forward. “Why” is a question based in the past and coaching looks at where you are now, in the present, and where you want to be…in the future.
How is coaching different to goal setting?

I think most of us know about goal setting – decide what you want to do and then break it down into manageable steps. Complete each of these steps and at the end you will have achieved your goal. Right? That’s so easy. And then we even added an acronym called SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So what’s the problem? Why haven’t we achieved all of our goals?

Well, coaching goes a bit deeper than usual goal setting and explores what is behind a goal. What is calling to you? What are the values associated with it?

Even though SMART goals are a handy tool for goal setting, with coaching there is so much more.

With coaching you learn to identify and prioritise what’s really important to you by developing a Life Purpose statement, or what others like to call a Personal Mission statement.

Once your Life Purpose statement is known, it’s pretty uncomfortable out there in the cold. You will want to get back to that sense of self, what some people describe as coming home. When you get off track, your statement helps you to know which track to get back on to.

So while in some ways coaching is like goal setting, it is much, much more.