Coaching & other disciplines

Distinctions Between Coaching and Other Disciplines

Considerations Therapy Mentoring Consulting Coaching
Focus of Work Deals mostly with a person’s past and trauma, and seeks healing. Deals mostly with succession training and seeks to help the one being mentored to do as the mentor does. Deals mostly with problems and seeks to provide information (expertise, strategy, structures, methodologies) to solve the problems. Deals mostly with a client’s present and seeks to guide the client into a more desirable future.
Relationship Doctor-patient relationship (therapist has the answers) Older/wiser younger/less experienced relationship (mentor has the answers) Expert-person with problem relationship (consultant has the answers). Co-creative equal partnership (coach helps client discover own answers).
Emotions Assumes emotions are a symptom of something wrong. Is limited to emotional responses of the mentoring parameters (succession, etc.) Does not normally address or deal with emotions (informational only). Assumes emotions are natural and normalizes them.
Process The therapist diagnoses and then provides professional expertise and guidelines to give the client a path to healing. The mentor allows student to observe mentor’s behavior, expertise; answers questions; provides guidance and wisdom for the stated purpose of the mentoring. The consultant stands back, evaluates a situation and then tells client the problem and how to fix it. The coach stands with the client, and helps the client identify the challenges. Then they work together into victories. The client is held accountable to reach his or her desired goals.

Source: Williams, Patrick and Anderson, Sharon K. (2006). Law and Ethics in Coaching: How to Solve and Avoid Difficult Problems in Your Practice. New York: Wiley.

NOTE: Clients requiring psychological help are advised to consult a psychotherapist only.