Coaching is not actually a type of therapy but a method of training or skills developing. Coaching differs significantly from therapy in that it is very often ‘time framed’ in that the coach can often say to you, “this will take X sessions to complete” coaching is also ‘goal targeted’ in that you tend to work with a coach to ‘achieve’ or reach a specific ‘measurable’ outcome.
A major difference between many ‘areas’ or ‘challenges’ handled in coaching sessions to those encountered in therapy sessions is that those ‘areas’ or ‘challenges’ may not be an emotional or mental health challenge but simply a need to learn a new skill set e.g. Public Speaking
Another key difference between coaching & therapy is that the coach, though they may well be trained in therapeutic work, will be focusing on your future i.e. you achieving your set goal. The therapist will often be looking at your past and helping you to understand how you are currently responding to triggers or stimuli.
There are some strong similarities between the process and outcomes of both therapy and coaching in that both aim to help a client adapt their behaviour to achieve better outcomes.
The choice of whether you should work with a coach or a therapist can be difficult as there are often emotions at play such as ‘stress’, ‘anxiety’, ‘lack of self-belief’ around the challenge that you are facing … but these might simply be a symptom of the ‘unknown’ or ‘fear’ of the challenge you are facing. Once you have learnt the skills you need the ‘stress’, ‘anxiety’, ‘lack of self-belief’ may well disappear.
Different types of coaching
Coaching can be used for various purposes.
One to one executive coaching is increasingly being used by clients to improve their career performance. Perhaps unlike Business or Performance coaching, executive coaching can focus on the grey areas of work that are partway between emotional issues and work challenges such as:
- Assertiveness and setting boundaries
- Coping with bullying and harassment … either to yourself or with in the team or organisation
- Managing diversity issues, inequality and other emotionally charged subjects.
- Struggling with confidence and self-belief – coping with ‘Impostor Syndrome’
- Managing challenging professional or work relationships
- Anger management be that your own or that of an aggressive colleague
- Unhealthy work and life balance
- Career transitions, crossroads deciding on career or starting a family
- Feeling stuck or unfulfilled in your career or profession
- Coping with the challenges of retirement or redundancy
- Supporting your team through difficult times – redundancies, a death of a colleague etc
- Juggling personal life challenges with career – long term health issues, being a primary carer and managing your career
As many of the above challenges or scenarios bring up emotional issues, some executive coaches use their therapeutic training and give a blended approach in the form of psychotherapeutic coaching.
Business coaching / Professional Coaching:
Business coaching is focused entirely on the needs of the client in the work / career or professional life and often cover subjects such as creating diversity plans in the organisation, developing emotional intelligence, succession planning etc
Personal or life coaching
This form of coaching provides support to client’s wishing to make some form of significant changes happen within their lives. Life Coaches help individuals to explore what they want in life and how they might achieve their aspirations and fulfill their needs. Personal/life coaching generally takes the client’s goals as its start point. Often there is an element of therapeutic coaching involved in Life Coaching.
This form of coaching focuses on the core skills that a client needs, usually to assist them in their work or professional life. Skills coaching is often tailored to the client’s specific current skills set and is generally focused on developing just one or a number of skills that are linked e.g. Public Speaking, Communication styles, managing stage nerves.
Career Coaching focuses on the client’s career concerns, with the coach prompting discussions around the area of concern and using feedback on the client’s responses & capabilities as part of a discussion of career options. Career Coaching / Career Transitions Coaching should lead to increased clarity, personal change and forward action.
Finding the right coach to work with
As with any form of therapy or counselling, the success of the outcomes of coaching will be affected by the quality of the relationship between the client and the coach.
The starting point of any coaching should be an initial conversation or session with the coach to see if there is a synergy between you.
Asking questions about their approach, the type of areas they have trained in, the type of challenges that they enjoy will all help you to choose the right person to work with.
Take a look at the individual profiles of each of the coaches at City Therapy Rooms