Diana Enache

Coaching unpacked: understanding the essentials of the coaching relationship

Whenever I talk to people who haven’t experienced coaching and ask them what they think coaching is, they usually describe something more like mentoring.
That got me thinking about how I could help clarify what coaching actually is.

Essentially, coaching is a process where the I as the coach and you as the client work together to define your desires, ideas, objectives and current situation. We also explore what small or significant changes you want to make, or clarity you want to obtain. We uncover your values, resources, strengths and beliefs, so that you gain new perspectives.

The focus of coaching is the present and future, with the option of drawing on the past for resources, such as asking when you’ve encountered a similar situation before and how you dealt with it.
Coaching involves gaining awareness, overcoming obstacles and feeling stuck, gaining insight, making decisions or building new habits.
As the coach, I follow your lead on this journey, because in coaching we’re equals and partners. My role is to create a judgement free space that does not involve advice and recommendations.

Unlike mentoring, that may be structured around hierarchy/seniority, or training, where the trainer provides information, coaching is unique in that these dynamics are not necessary for the process to be effective.

Coaching is a voluntary process that you, as the client, choose to participate in. This decision reflects your commitment to growth and self-improvement.

If I were to choose a metaphor for the process I offer it would be this: coaching is an adventure into your career, mindset, learning, that you and I embark on, where you are the superhero and I am your sidekick.

Understanding the differences between coaching, mentoring, and training can help you choose the approach that is best suited to your needs, so let’s explore what mentoring and training mean.

Mentoring is a partnership where the client sets the agenda. It involves advice, recommendations and feedback. A mentor is there to guide the mentee. The mentor is usually more senior than the mentee and the mentee chooses their mentor.

In training, the trainer leads the session. The focus is on knowledge transfer from the trainer to the participants. The agenda is set by the trainer with input from participants. Training involves feedback and recommendations.

I hope this brings more clarity around coaching and answers some of your questions about the differences between coaching and other forms of improvement.

If you’re not sure if coaching is right for you, take some time to go through these questions and send me a message, so we can set up a virtual coffee chat.

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