The Difference between coaching? What is it?

What is the difference between Coaching and Psychotherapy?

The differences between Coaching and Psychotherapy (Psychology) are rather significant even though they are closely related. Coaching is also often confused with other professions such as a Consultant, Mentor and a Motivator. The focus of coaching is development and implementation of strategies to reach client-identified goals of enhanced performance and personal satisfaction. Coaching may address specific personal projects, life balance, job performance and satisfaction, or general conditions in the client’s life, business, or profession.

Coaching utilizes personal strategic planning, values clarification, brainstorming, motivational counselling, and other counselling techniques. However, the whole process keeps you as the focal point and you remain in control. The coach facilitates your thinking and reshuffles your thoughts into an organized structure, giving you absolute clarity. The process enables you to become self-governing and self-motivated with a clear path forward towards your goals. A true coach should never ‘tell‘ you what to do (that is the role of a consultant). However, a coach may offer occasional suggestions that trigger deeper thought and new avenues to explore.

“Coaching is often confused with the role of a psychologist and psychiatrist.”

The primary focus of a psychologist is identification, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and nervous disorders. The goals of a psychologist includes alleviating symptoms, understanding the underlying dynamics which create symptoms, changing dysfunctional behaviors which are the result of these disorders, and developing new strategies for successfully coping with the psychological challenges which many of us face. The focus generally tends to be on past events exploring the deep seeded causes that have lead to the present mental condition. A psychiatrist is similar to a psychologist (phew, this is difficult on the tongue!) but has the authority to prescribe medication for aiding in treatment.


What is the difference between Coaching and Mentoring?

“A Coach is often confused with the role of  a Mentor.”

The difference between a coach and a mentor

Mentors may use coaching strategies in their practice, however their methodology differs from a coach. Mentoring is an age old tradition that usually involves an experienced senior who provides support, encouragement, wisdom and guidance to the learner.  An informal mentor may provide coaching, listening, advice, sounding board reactions, or other help in an unstructured, casual manner. A formal mentor agrees to an ongoing, planned partnership that focuses on helping the learner reach specific goals over a specified period of time.

A key difference between a coach and a mentor is that a mentor often leads by example and the learner follows in his/her shadow. The learner watches and follows the mentor and often aims to adopt their parts of their personality, skill sets, or other expertise.  A true coach should never give advice or pursue the client towards any given direction expect to move forward. A coach uses only the skill sets that the client has which effectively empowers the individual so they become self-governed and self-motivated.

You can find out more about Mentoring at the National Mentoring Partnership website here…


What is the difference between Coaching and Consulting?

“A Coach is often confused with the role of a Consultant.”

The difference between coaching and consultancy differs greatly! These two areas are possibly the most confused… And unfortunately, by some practicing coaches. The primary difference between the two is that a consultant will give advice based on personal and professional opinions. They also offer an action plan based on ‘their’ experience and expertise and is usually focused on a specific skill or industry. The client is never in the pilot seat.

A true Coach will never (or should never) give personal opinions, advice, and plan of action based on the coach’s experience or expertise. The coach assumes the client is filled with the necessary skills  in order to move them forward towards the client’s desired goals. The coach understands that the client is unique and has experiences and talents that cannot be matched by anyone else. They aim to exploit these talents that you have kept from the world and help you to use them to achieve your dreams. The result is self-motivation, purposeful fulfillment, and future leadership of your own industry. While the role of a consultant is necessary for certain tasks beyond your experience or knowledge (For example, interior designing, financial consultant, health advice, etc.), it greatly differs from that of a coach.


What is the difference between a Coach and a Motivator?

“Coaching is often confused with the role of a Motivator.”

What is the difference between a coach and a motivator?

The difference between coaching and a motivator is all in the delivery and ultimate outcome. While a coach does fill the client with a great deal of motivation, there are distinct differences in the methods used. “Yes You Can!”, “Believe in Yourself!”, “GO, GO GOYou Can Do It!” These and many other catch phrases are commonly associated within the nature of a motivator. A motivator is often and expert in the field or has a genuine history and story that is inspiring for others. The motivator uses their personal inspiration and inflicts it onto others. The results can be quite powerful! However, they are often short lived. Sometimes only minutes and not usefully anymore than an hour.

But why does it only work for a short time?”

The reason a motivator is effective for short periods is because it is NOT your life and who YOU really are. That is their personal experience. The process acts as a form of hypnosis that effectively places you in their shoes, and you internally live their life. But as we know, this only lasts a short while… even though sometimes we wish it were forever!

A classic example: Have you ever watched a movie and once it’s finished, you feel like you are that person? For the men, Rocky, Godfather, or Rambo; when the films have finished have you ever thought you could then be Champion of The WorldStart an Underground Mafia Syndicate? Or Single Handedly End The War in The Middle East? — Don’t worry, you are not alone. But how long did this effect last for? Usually no longer than the car ride home from the cinema. Or until your better half reminds you it is your turn to fix the kids’ school lunches tomorrow. However, a motivator can be effective to jolt you into a more pro-active frame of mind. They are also great if you are aiming to align a group of people to the same emotional state or focus. This is why motivators are common to give teams pep talks before a big sports game or any specific event.

The difference between coaching and motivating

A performance coach and a motivator both give you motivation. However, a coach aims to ensure the client is responsible for their own motivation. As much as we would all love Rocky to be by our side every step of the way, “You’re better than that, don’t give up!” The reality is that only you are truly responsible for your direction. Therefore, it is up to you to be in control every step of the way. A performance coach will bring that sense of self-motivation out of you. They will challenge your thoughts to become pro-active and to see the opportunity when you previously thought there were none. It is your unique dream, your destiny, your future, your success.

If you are interested in know more about what a Performance Coach can do for you, drop me an email and I’ll be happy to personally answer your questions. ==> Russell O’Neill – Performance Coach

Now Go Get’m Tiger!!


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Russell O’Neill

Performance Coach and Founder
***Be Free Today***

About Russell O'Neill

Life Coach. Teacher. Musician. Founder of Be Free Today. My passion is to help others excel in life by focusing on their 'true' priorities. Be careful what you wish for around me, you'll find yourself making it happen. Australian born, Australian by nature. When I write, it is usually about all matters that will help individuals better themselves. Strum the odd guitar chord in my free time. Everyone has a story to tell, and I love to hear them! If you're living with passion or trying to find yours, drop me an email friend.