There are fundamental differences between therapy, mentoring and coaching although they all can bring great benefits and change to clients, especially on a one to one basis.
We could use any learning process as an analogy, but let’s use “riding a bike”.
A therapist could start with questions like these for example:
“When did you first start riding a bike?” “What do you feel when you ride a bike?’’.
‘’What problems have you faced?’’
“Why is that difficult?”
A mentor may tackle it in a more active way:
“ I have been riding a bike successfully for 20 years, using this technique. So if we work together and you follow my advice and training programme, I am sure you will achieve success!”
A coach may adopt an inquisitive approach:
“What is important about this process?’’
“What are the stages in learning?”
“What are you curious about?”
“What is the next step?”
So therapy often deals when people feel broken or overwhelmed, looking for historical reasons (emotional and physical trauma for example). It looks at patterns of thinking and through techniques such as CBT helps the client to rationalise their thoughts.
Mentoring and consulting seek to nurture talent from a perspective of experience, excellence in the field or an associated one.
Problem solving and giving practical advice are key parts of both approaches.
Coaching is about opening clients up to the possibilities when they are in a creative space, holding themselves as capable and resourceful. It is also really effective in finding out what holds people back.
It is all about asking questions that open up the mind to the land of possibility and opportunity.
Accepting that life presents challenges but seeking a solution based on values of the person.
Put simply, three questions summarise approaches in coaching:
“ If your life was set up exactly as you wish, what would it look like?” ( Dreams, goals and vision).
“What do you need to balance in your life and what would you come up with if there were no limits?”
“What emotions are here now and what are you experiencing in this moment?”
If you are curious about coaching please contact Tony Alcock for a free taster session.