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When is Coaching not Coaching ?

I often get asked what is the difference between coaching and other forms of  performance related interactions? There are many ways in which we can have a positive influence on our clients. We can train them, where we are sharing information and validating their understanding in such a way that they can execute new work, or follow a process. With consulting we are also knowledge sharing, but generally to deal with a specific problem or project, where we share experience or opinions which may or may not lead to execution of work, or a process.  Finally we have mentoring where an experienced person, both with interactive skills, and specific knowledge of the persons work area can help and guide that person along a career path.

Coaching is often confused with any of the above, or a combination of all of them. However, coaching is about listening and facilitation where the coach has specific training and skills to do this. High performance coaching generally should not require (except sports) any subject matter knowledge with relation to the client. The process is about “Detached Involvement” whereby the coach uses their skills and intuition to guide the client to their own answers, or clear their own hurdles. If a client can achieve this, they will own the solution and have a way better chance of making it work in the long term. There is a short animated video that highlights some of the areas a good coach should not stray into.

For more insights on personal and team performance, please visit my YouTube channel

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