How is 'coaching' different to 'consulting', 'mentoring' & 'counselling'?

Ever wondered what 'coaching' is? It does seem to be the new buzz word, and is somewhat under-explained. I think everyone has their own definition and style, but this is how I approach it.


Coaching for a new start, sunrise over the horizon

what does a coach do?

A coach helps you to find your way, defining aims and working towards them. They're a 'facilitator of learning', rather than an expert in your field: good coaches believe that the individual always has the answer to their own problems but understands that they may need help to find the answer. They can assist a client to bridge the gap between where they are now, to where they would like to be far more effectively than if they worked alone.

A coach can help you on a personal level ("life coaching"), or with a more specific need such as developing a capsule wardrobe; improving self confidence; working on nutrition; or developing your business. The key is that, whatever the area of focus, coaching is generally concentrated on the present and near-future. It often involves learning to listen to your 'gut', following your instincts and subsconcious, and silencing your inner critic by distracting it or working through any fears.

Coaches ask you lots of questions, and help you to dig deep; you might work through specific exercises and tasks together to do this. They won't tell you what to do, but they might share their own experiences and knowledge if it's relevant and helps you to move forward. They're kind of like a great listener and friend, who walk with you on your journey keeping you motivated and accountable.

Coaching can be incredibly useful at any stage of your life or career, especially when you're going through a transition or starting something new. 

Consultants, Mentors and Counsellors

A consultant is there to solve a problem for you, rather than helping you to solve the problem yourself. They're directive, and often brought into companies as a fresh set of eyes, or as a source of expertise, who can help to improve processes. They're more likely to tell you what to do, and how to do it, before moving on to solve another problem.

A mentor sits between a coach and consultant. They are likely to ask both open and leading questions, and may listen to you as much as they offer advice and solutions based upon their own experience and expertise. While a coach doesn't need to have had experience in your field, a mentor usually will. 

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You can ask a coach to take a more mentoring approach if you require it; for example, if you're looking to define your start-up dreams, you may require coaching to draw out your ambitions but mentoring to help you deliver more technical areas (e.g. marketing, finance and legal processes). Although this is not for all coaches, I like to review each client individually and work with them to assess their coaching vs mentoring needs as we enter into a 4 week or 6 month programme together.

Finally, a counsellor helps you to confront more emotional issues, often from your past. They ask open questions and there's an emphasis on them just listening, allowing clients to work through issues in a safe environment. In counselling sessions you often explore personal issues and problems through discussion in order to increase understanding or develop greater self-awareness.


coaching for creative entrepreneurs 

There are lots of different types of support out there, and everyone will have a different style and method. A bit like with learning, you need to find someone who you connect with, whose style and content appeals to you. To do this, I recommend reading websites and blogs, signing up to newsletters, listening to podcasts where available, getting to know people over Instagram and email, even arranging a phone call or coffee if you wish. 

When it comes to BE STUBBORN, my goal is to help creatives, entrepreneurs and small business owners, or those seeking change, to believe in themselves and their careers, to work hard and be determined, so that they can feel happy and fulfilled. I want people to be stubborn about working towards their dreams consistently, overcoming obstacles. I believe there is always a solution and I am here to help you develop that mindset and push through any barriers.

Oh Happy Day card being held against the wall

Most importantly, coaching should be all about YOU. Yes, coaches have an opinion and their own methods, but it would not be right or fair of them to force those onto their clients. I collaborate with individuals to get to the root of problems or obstacles, helping you to find ways around them and develop a solutions-focused approach. I ask questions, share examples and resources, and ultimately help you to move forward towards your goals. I am here to support you, cheer you on, and give you a sense of accountability.

I am not here to boss you around or shout at you. Together we will agree on exercises and tasks to be completed throughout our time working together, but I won't tell you off if you don't get it done. We are all grown-ups here, we all have our own dreams and we all have our own crap. My goal is to help bring out the best in you. I do not believe that anger or fear is conducive to this. I've got your back, always, no matter what.

If you want to find out more about coaching, I would be happy to email, chat, message over Instagram(!), whatever you fancy! Have a think; you know where I am if you need me.

 

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How is coaching different to consulting, mentoring and counselling?