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The word coaching has become almost synonymous with any person that helps other people in some way but the coaching process is quite unique and shouldn’t be confused as it frequently is with many gurus, trainers, therapists, mentors and leaders.

In fact the expression coaching-training-mentoring has almost become one word but there are clear distinctions, and here are some of mine. Let’s start with training:


Here, this is a distraction-based environment where one hat fits all. An environment where people are told rather than shown. Where the same content is handed out to everyone yet hopefully with some degree of differentiation. However, training and the group mentality can be fun and memorable.


This is where we seek out the ‘Guru’ or expert in charge in a hope to model their behaviours and skills to become like them and have similar success. Typically it is a one-to-one experience and the results may be powerful or not because it is the mentor’s  own particular style and content we are being offered and this may not suit our our unique subjective experience.


Coaching is working one-to-one or in small groups, ideally in an environment where the distractions are removed, and both coach and coachee(s) enter a zone of quiet insight and focus.

Accountability is powerful here – holding the mirror on good and not-so good, but the coach is the enabler and the coachee is an explorer.

The coach may challenge the the coachee as well as support and help them deconstruct non-resourceful maps of experience and discover more resourceful ones.

The focus should be held on the coachee’s unique inner experience. Mostly ‘clean’ and process-based approaches are used. As a rule of thumb, any suggestions given by the coach needs to be done so with caution as suggestions are the coaches own content, but the beauty of coaching is that you have the licence to utilise both.

Sometimes suggestions aren’t useful, other times they’re not and a skilled facilitator knows exactly when to use either.

In fact one of my views is that quality coaching from an experienced professional (with a variety of skill sets!) can be even more powerful for people than those seeking traditional therapeutic outcomes because the discoveries revealed during the long-term support, the questioning and silence can empower individuals, profoundly.

Yet the public occasionally assume that a coach has to be an expert in a chosen field say sports or business.


The coaches role is actually to facilitate subjective experience and he or she can have tremendous success with, let’s say, a tennis player, whilst similarly knowing nothing at all about tennis at all.

In coaching both the conscious and unconscious minds are at play and the coaching process itself is all about positive enablement, tweaking of individual experience and making long-lasting behaviourial and environmental changes, inside and out – to enhance performance within an agreed time frame.

And achieve that long-awaited dream or your deepest desire.

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