I often have to explain that coaching is not the same as mentoring, training or counselling.
I thought it might be useful to take a step back and reflect on the differences between various forms of capability development options, and their different uses.
The differences can best be illustrated by comparing the different capabilities in a grid:
|Purpose||Approach||Agenda Owner||Source of Expertise||Intended Outcome|
|Coach||Unlock individual’s inherent potential in coached area||Ask powerful questions to tap individual’s vision, wisdom, & directed action in service of individual’s self-identified agenda||Both Coach and individual hold individual’s agenda||Individual||Predictable sustainable results; achievement of full potential|
|Trainer||Gain specific skills||Provide targeted learning experiences||Trainer||Trainer||Classroom learning, at least on site|
|Mentor||Get advice||Tell, based on personal experience||Mentee||Mentor||Help at point of need; may not be self-sustaining|
|Career Counsellor||Obtain career direction and support||Serves as counselee’s advocate, adviser, and guide||Counselee||Career Counsellor||Enhanced career performance and growth|
|Psychologist or Therapist||Psychological healing and/or insight; pain resolution; coping mechanisms||Varies. Understand history, increase self-awareness / observation, & behaviour change||Largely designed by therapist, though typically client brings ‘presenting problem’||Therapist, although he/she does not normally give ‘advice’ as in training and mentoring||Insight into history, understanding of feelings, change in dysfunctional behaviour patterns|
So pick the right option, depending on what you want to achieve. Oh, and sometimes we pick the easy option – we want someone to tell us what to do (e.g. a mentor, trainer or career counsellor) – because we don’t have to expend energy thinking about it for ourselves….
But think back to the times when you have had to work something through and come to a solution yourself, and how much more committed to action you were as a result.
I know I’ve had many experiences where a supervisor has told me what to do, and then I have faltered because I didn’t really buy into what he/she suggested, and I don’t have the same drive as I do when I work out my own answers.
Isn’t that the better place to be – passionate, motivated, and empowered to take action; and that sense of satisfaction that you worked it out for yourself, with the help of someone else’s great questions.