Home » Blog » What Coaching Is & What It Is NOT!

We’ll bet you’ve been there before, at the beginning of a coaching engagement. 

It is never too late to explain what coaching is, but of course, it is in everyone’s best interest to do so before the beginning of any engagement. It is equally as vital to define what coaching is not as it is to define what it is.

In this blog, we will begin with understanding coaching and move on with how it is different from similar-sounding methodologies.

What is Coaching?

Simply put, coaching is a way to move from point A to B.

Regardless of how far away it is, or why the journey is meaningful for you. 

Coach partners with the coachees to help them achieve the“B”.

A coach will present you with various options so you may decide which route is best for you. There are numerous ways to get from point A to point B. If you run into problems along the way, a coach will be able to point them out, assist you to solve them and get you back on track to B. In order to accomplish this, the coach draws on the coaching skills they developed during their professional coach training and have continued to develop throughout their career.

As a profession, it has combined the best of psychology, business, evolution, philosophy and spirituality to help entrepreneurs, professionals, and business owners. 

Coaching is a process that focuses on assisting individuals, teams, and organisations in improving their behaviour, cognition, actions, decision-making, and overall efficiency. The estimated market value of the coaching industry in the US rose from $707 million in 2011 to $1.02 billion in 2016. This is an increase of almost 30% over 5 years. A coach assists a coachee in making a change, acquiring new skills, or achieving goals. This is accomplished through conversation, which can occur in person, over the phone, or online.

The ultimate goal is to assist the coachee in making progress in a particular area of their life, at work, or in overcoming a problem. Here, we’ll look at how coaching works and how it differs from other approaches. 

How does Coaching work? 

Coaching works due to three factors:

Synergy: The coaches and the clients work together as a team, in synergy to achieve the client’s goals.

Structure: The coaches create a structure for the clients that encloses all the goals and aspirations of the clients.

Expertise: Coaches are experts who are trained with strategies and techniques to bring the goals set into life.

So, the fundamental belief that underpins coaching is that we already possess the answers we seek. A coach’s role is to assist the coachee in obtaining these responses. This is accomplished through a variety of conversational techniques, including interrogation, active listening, observation, and reflection.

When these techniques are used, the coachee gains increased self-awareness and frequently a new insight. Having a non-judgmental, non-biased person available to provide focused attention enables the coachee to comprehend how to proceed.

The Pillars of Erickson Coaching Methodology


  • Solution-Focused


Moves your client toward their desired future outcomes, instead of concentrating on past experiences or reasons for present dissatisfaction.


  • Systemic


Emphasizes the holistic nature of your client, seeing how positive change can fit into their bigger picture.


  • Client-Centered


Allows you to trust your client’s inner resources and skills, respecting their agenda and future outcomes. Coaching is an advice-free zone.


  • Action-Oriented


Pursues transformational change in specific, inspired steps that lead to fundamental shifts in attitude, behaviour, and habit formation.

What Coaching Is NOT

There has long been discussion on what makes coaching different from other similar procedures as an intervention in individual and organisational development. Alternatives that also aim to help people fulfil their potential include consulting, counselling, therapy, mentorship, and other process interventions like NLP, TA, Positive Psychology, and Appreciative Inquiry. All of these are used with both people and businesses.

Some of these strategies work best for people, while others are better suited for companies (such as consulting) (such as therapy). Until recently, coaching was also mostly seen as an individual behavioural intervention. These processes differ from one another in a way that resembles a communication and time matrix. These interventions range from past-focused to future-focused. Both the directive method of telling and the exploratory approach of asking are used in some of these treatments. No action is ever right or wrong. Each solution might be more effective in a certain setting.

You can include the organisational and individual context as the third axis of the matrix to fully look at how everything fits together. 

What unites all of these situations is that the client—whether an individual or an organization—wants a result that necessitates overcoming obstacles on the internal, external, or both sides of the equation.

Coaching Vs Consulting

Most consulting is done in an organisational setting. In order to assist the client with the difficulty they confront, it requires the experience and skills that a consultant brings with them. Coaching and consulting are both future-oriented. While coaching is an exploratory technique for creating awareness, consulting is a direct solution-based approach. 

Since the consultant is an expert whose duty it is to fix the problem, consultation typically produces quicker results. Although it is quicker than coaching, the coaching-related awareness-creation is not present. This indicates that even when a problem has been resolved, no anchoring has occurred, and the client’s satisfaction might simply be fleeting. However, there are coaching-based consulting strategies that take a more partnered consulting approach. As the adage goes, you get the best of both worlds.

Coaching Vs Therapy 

In order to help the client overcome any traumas stemming from previous experiences, many psychological behavioural therapies are focused on revealing past (conditioned) experiences. Different remedies adhere to various procedures. However, they are all historically oriented and, to a certain extent, all based on the directive telling method. 

This was changed by Carl Rogers to a client-centred explorative method, which gave rise to counselling. Coaches are typically cautioned not to adhere to therapeutic approaches, even if they are equipped to do so because coaching is a future-based, inquiring approach. It is essential that coaches obtain express client consent before utilising any therapeutic approaches or tools with their clients.

Coaching Vs Counseling

In comparison to other psychological therapeutic therapies, counselling is significantly more similar to coaching. It places more emphasis on listening and inquiring. However, it continues to put more of an emphasis on aiding clients in overcoming previous experiences, particularly those involving emotional trauma. Many topics, like relationships, sorrow, and loss, that were historically firmly in the purview of counsellors, are now skillfully addressed by coaches utilising outcome-oriented techniques.

Coaches don’t concentrate on a person’s history or early events that may be the cause of how they live or feel, in contrast to therapists and counsellors. Instead, they assist their customers in becoming crystal clear about what they want, why they want it, and how they plan to acquire it.

Coaching Vs Mentoring

There has been much discussion about how mentoring differs greatly from coaching and is even “out of limits” ethically. Because mentoring requires skill, or “telling,” this is the reason. The role of the coach is to serve as a mirror, not as the expert in the room. However, when considering this from a practical standpoint, mentoring frequently crosses over into coaching, which isn’t always a bad thing.

No coach is able to completely disengage from all feelings and reactions that come up while partnering and sharing with the client. In fact, at the expert level, it is crucial for the coach to be able to truly express intuitive emotional and bodily responses to the client, while also being vulnerable enough to accept disagreement.

In order to obtain mentorship as part of the engagement, many corporate executives feel more at ease with a coach who has “walked the talk” with experience and knowledge. They want practitioners who can assist them in finding a solution, not theorists. Most coaches do occasionally don the mentor’s hat.

It is crucial to keep in mind, nevertheless, that the client can only achieve lasting outcomes if they identify their own answer through their own awareness. The coaching framework aims to bring about that awareness. This boundary must be established by the coach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a process that assists individuals, teams, and organizations in improving their behavior, cognition, decision-making, and overall efficiency. It is a partnership between the coach and the client to help achieve the client’s goals.

How does Coaching work?

Coaching works through synergy between the coach and client, a structure created by the coach to outline the client’s goals, and the coach’s expertise in techniques to bring the goals to life.

What are the Pillars of Erickson Coaching Methodology?

The Erickson Coaching Methodology is solution-focused, systemic, client-centered, and action-oriented.

What Coaching is NOT?

Coaching is not the same as consulting, therapy, mentorship, or other process interventions like NLP, TA, Positive Psychology, or Appreciative Inquiry. It is different from these interventions in its focus on creating awareness and its exploratory approach.

What is the difference between Coaching,Consulting and Therapy?

Coaching is different from consulting, which is a direct solution-based approach. It is also different from therapy, which focuses on resolving past traumas and emotional issues. Coaching is focused on creating awareness and moving the client towards their desired future outcomes.