Business & Executive Coaching vs. Business Consulting, Mentoring or Training
Last Updated: April 14, 2020
There are a lot of companies and individuals calling themselves coaches these days. The field of coaching is still unregulated and anyone is free to put up a shingle and call themselves a coach if they so desire. I would like to shed some light on this subject and share some information with you that will help you discern what a business or executive coach means here at Coaching Breakthroughs and also what coaching ‘business people’ means to me.
The term coach originated in the early 1800’s at Oxford University as a slang term for a tutor that helped “carry” a student towards their exams (because a stage coach helped transport people from one place to another). Though I’ve been involved in personal development and coaching for a number of years, I didn’t find that out till I already became a coach. Coaches help people ‘move’ towards their desired outcomes, whether personal or professional.
To understand coaching and how it applies to business, let’s first look at three offerings often confused with coaching.
Business coaching is not mentoring or training or consulting but they can overlap
Mentoring – involves a developmental relationship between a person with direct experience in the area they are mentoring and a person new to the field who wishes to acquire more knowledge and wisdom about that subject area. A mentor can at times use coaching skills and competencies but is really showing the ‘client’ how they achieved their success.
Training – involves teaching a set of specific skills to a person that does not currently have those skills. The training material and program is set out and decided upon in advance by the trainer, not the student.
Consulting – involves assessing or analyzing the needs of an organization or individual and offering their own solutions based on their specialized expertise to ‘fix’ the problem, which they often implement for the client as well.
There are many benefits to each of these services and at times some coaching may be used within each of these approaches. As a coach, I may help you discover that you could benefit greatly from hiring any one of the above to bring you closer to the results you’re looking for and then the choice and commitment is yours. A coach will never tell you what you should do or how you should do it (that is, most professionally trained coaches won’t should on their clients 🙂 ). So let’s take a closer look at what coaching, by today’s standards, is all about.
What Coaching Is
The International Coach Federation, the largest coaching association in the world, provides accrediting systems for coach training programs and is establishing standards and core competencies that all members embrace and adhere to.
“The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole.
Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve;
- Encourage client self-discovery;
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies; and
- Hold the client responsible and accountable.
Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.
Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.”
Adding to that, unlike consultants, trainers and mentors, ICF trained coaches rarely ever dole out advice and tell people what to do. You’re not paying a coach to tell you what to do – you’re paying a coach to help you learn, grow, change, evolve, transform, etc.
As a coach, I believe you are the expert in your life & in your business and I won’t tell you or teach you how you should do things – unless we agree that I have a set of experience you’d like me to teach you (like mindfulness, meditation, HeartMath, self-regulation, non-violent communication, defusion techniques, etc.)
Rather, through appreciative inquiry, asking you open ended questions that get you to look deep within yourself for the answers you might already have or can begin to generate on your own, I will support you in the process of realizing new possibilities, choices and approaches. Then you decide and make a commitment and through consistent, values-based actions, you will learn and consistently improve your results.
What are the benefits of Executive Coaching?
Good coaching can benefit people in profound and meaningful ways by helping a person tap into their unique strengths, inherent wisdom and personal potential to create meaningful and fulfilling changes in their lives by changing how they live and how they lead others (including their families).
There are many reasons why an organization may hire coaches for their personnel and why an executive may hire a personal executive coach to help them maximize their potential and achieve extraordinary results in their professional and personal lives, here are a few of them:
- To accelerate results and reach a goal as effectively and efficiently as possible;
- To bridge any gaps in knowledge, skills, confidence or resources;
- To get unstuck and learn to expand their realm of possibilities and choices;
- To gain clarity and increase one’s level of certainty in making decisions;
- To deepen leadership potential including influential & inspiring interpersonal communication;
- To achieve work-life balance and reduce stress & anxiety;
- To deepen one’s sense of purpose and contribution;
- To be more authentic & leverage one’s core values and strengths;
- To clarify, experience and enjoy one’s personal definition of success.
Since coaching is completely customized to the individual, there are too many possible benefits to mention, however, I truly hope that in reading the list above, you can find at least one reason that would make an investment in coaching worthwhile for yourself.
Business Coaching vs. Executive Coaching vs. Life Coaching
At Coaching Breakthroughs, these all mean essentially the same thing now. Though I may be hired by a company, I work with individuals one on one, and I’m committed to helping each person achieve success as they define it.
There can be no conflicting agendas and I will not guide the coachee towards ‘fitting in’ to the organization if that is not in alignment with their core values. By tapping in to who they truly are and what they deeply desire, it is possible that the coachee will flourish within their current company and be an inspiring force that contributes to the company’s entire culture as well as their bottom line. It is also possible that the coachee may choose to leave the company as they expand their awareness and gain confidence and clarity to know and act on what is right for them – either way everyone wins in the end.
Why I Coach Business People / Executives
I believe that everyone is unique and has special gifts and a personal purpose to serve, which changes and evolves over time. I value personal freedom and the ideal notion that if people embrace and leverage their authenticity, their gifts and their purpose, they will enjoy ultimate freedom wherever they are.
Since work takes up more than half of our waking lives and for many people it can take up to two thirds of it, it can feel like a prison to many people if that person is not truly happy, free and fulfilled at work. That has devastating effects to the individual, their families, and the companies they work for (not to mention the world they live in).
I also love business and have owned my own business for nearly 20 years, been a partner in several others, and have worked with hundreds of businesses in the areas of marketing and sales. Through all my experiences, as I embraced personal development and my own self growth, the one area that mattered to me most wasn’t about helping people make more money or providing cutting edge solutions, it was helping the people on a deep, personal level. I couldn’t do that as a solutions provider or consultant so I became a professionally trained coach.
I truly want to make a meaningful difference in each client’s life and as a result I believe that I am making a meaningful contribution to the world.