Organization & Leadership Consulting

What Coaching is Not

With coaching a mountain climber reaches the summit in a sunset

It is often more appealing to try something new if it is a little familiar. This is true even for adrenaline junkies who love trying something new. The familiarity is in feeling the rush. Sometimes familiarity is achieved in part by defining what something is not. For those unfamiliar with the concept and practice of coaching someone outside the context of sports, music, or the like, here are some helpful considerations:

Coaching is not therapy.

While there is great value in the varied approaches to therapy for the sake of one’s mental, emotional, and psychological well-being, it tends to focus on unpacking things from the past that got you where you are. Sometimes that is needed in order to end a repetitive thought process or behavior in order to move on. Coaching complements therapy by focusing on the present and moving forward.

Coaching is not cheerleading.

We all need the occasional motivational boost that comes from people cheering us on. But cheers are a rather temporary “gust” of wind in our sails. What we need is a more steady source of acceptance, affirmation, and encouragement. Coaching taps into the competencies that are already there in a way that instills confidence and courage to build on them through further application and practice. 

Coaching is not a set of compliments.

While an upbeat compliment can provide a pleasant uplift, a coach’s rigorous encouragement draws out the best in you. It does this by helping you tap into your deeper, heart-felt values and motivations. The word courage comes from the Old French “corage”, meaning “heart, innermost feelings; temper”. Coaching is not aimed at superficial, short-term, feel-good sentiment. It focuses on deep, long-term, do-good substance.

Coaching is not a one-and-done advice session.

Advice is needed. Seeking input and wisdom for specific decisions is essential to sound decision-making and leadership. Quite often, those moments of insight from others, valuable as they are, are not easily transferable. Coaching done well is about asking profound and provocative questions that bring about perspective-shifting disruptions of thought patterns and behaviors. For those shifts to take hold and remain anchored, ongoing reflection and reinforcement are required. An effective coach assists in that.

Don’t wait.

It is possible to do well for yourself and others without a coach. It is impossible to be your best self without one. If you are putting it off, take a moment to explore why. Ask yourself what is more important than the reasons for putting it off and then give that answer a courageous response.

The TurningWest team is comprised of trained, experienced coaches who receive coaching themselves. Contact us today to explore ways in which we can help you build a healthy organizational culture through building on your strengths and those of your colleagues.


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