International Coach Federation - ICF - July 20, 2010
Red Flags: It’s coaching unless… What you should know about coaching
Professional coaching is an interactive process that helps individuals and organizations improve their performances and achieve extraordinary results. But sometimes lines between coaching and other helping professions, like therapy or consulting, get blurred. To help educate potential coaching clients, the International Coach Federation (ICF) clears up what clients should and shouldn’t expect from a coaching partnership.
It is coaching unless…
….the coach tells you what to do. Many people may find it surprising that coaches do not tell their clients what they should do with their lives or careers. Coaching maintains that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole. The coach's responsibility is to discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve and encourage client self-discovery.
…the focus is on resolving difficulties from your past which impact your emotional functioning in the present. Therapy focuses on improving overall psychological functioning. The primary focus of coaching is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one's work or personal life. The emphasis in a coaching relationship is on action, accountability and follow-through.
…the coach solves your problems. In general, coaching assumes that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.
…the coach focuses on improving on your less-than desired behaviors or weaknesses. The focus of coaching is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities. Coaching incorporates an appreciative approach, grounded in what's right, what's working, what's wanted, and what's needed to get there.
…the coach uses his/her own experiences to mentor or guide you. Mentoring, which can be thought of as guiding from one's own experience or sharing of experience in a specific area of industry or career development, is sometimes confused with coaching. Although some coaches provide mentoring as part of their services, coaches are not typically mentors to those they coach.
Remember, it is up to a client and a coach to decide the scope of their coaching agreement, which may include elements of consulting, mentoring or other services. In such cases, it is perfectly acceptable for a coach to use these approaches in addition to coaching.
Coaching is a distinct profession with established core competencies that define the required skill set and knowledge of a professional coach. Coaches who have earned ICF Credentials have demonstrated a working knowledge of these skills and competencies. To find an ICF Credentialed Coach, visit the Coach Referral Service (CRS), a free online search directory, at Coachfederation.org/CRS.
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 is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.
The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with over 14,200 members in more than 90 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. The ICF is the only organization that awards a global credential which is currently held by more than 6,300 coaches worldwide
Gráinne Suter of jml Training & Consultancy is a Member of The International Coach Federation
jml Training & Consultancy are an Organisational Member of The Association for Coaching