What is coaching and is there a difference between coaching, mentoring, and counselling?

I have lost count of the times that I have been asked this question. In the coaching world jargon is often used and it may exclude people. This article aims to clarify the differences to support you making the right choice for your requirements.

Each of the disciplines has unique points that are useful in different ways. Having clarity of the topics will assist you in picking what is most beneficial for you. 

What is coaching?

The art of improving performance whilst focusing on the here and now, it focuses on unlocking the potential of a person, of group of people to maximise their own performance. It supports individual and/or collective learning as opposed to teaching or telling.

Coaching comes on a spectrum that ranges from directive to non-directive. Directive is where the coach will give opinions, ideas and guide the client in a certain direction. This can be confused with mentoring too. Non-directive is when the coach believes that the client has all the resources, they need, to solve the challenge or achieve the goals that they are aiming for.

Many coaches will move across this spectrum whilst interacting with clients so it’s important to understand both how you learn, and what you want from the sessions.

Knowing your own needs for coaching is important to increase the likelihood of achieving your outcomes.

Expertise and knowledge of your job is not required by a coach.

Coaching qualifications come in many guises. I have met amazing coaches without qualifications and some poor coaches who have lots of qualifications. I will go through what to look for in another article soon.

Hayoka Business Partners

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a supportive learning relationship between an individual who shares knowledge, experience and wisdom with another individual who is ready and willing to benefit from this exchange, to enrich their professional journey.

It is typically someone who has experience and expertise in the area you are looking to develop in. It is based on trust and confidentiality and is often a fatherly or motherly style of interaction.

Many larger companies provide mentoring to people who are looking to understand how the business works from someone who has been there and done the role.

What is counselling?

Counselling is a process that psychologically empowers individuals to seize back control of their lives, whilst working through issues and problems that have caused them to lose self-esteem, as well as confidence in their own abilities. Counselling increases self-awareness and a sense of well-being and is often the first step individuals take on their path to discovering a more positive life.