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Coaching vs Therapy vs Consulting


Why hire a coach?

Do I need a coach?

How does the coaching process work?

What is the difference between therapy and coaching?

These are questions people ask me all the time. Let’s start with the distinctions What is the difference between coaching, therapy and consulting?

Let’s start with consultants, they are “the experts”. They are the people we hire for their knowledge and expertise. I know we don’t usually think of Dentists as consultants, but from a simplistic point of view they are. We go to Dentists because they are trained professionals who know the ins and outs of dental health. When you sit in the dentist chair the dentist doesn’t ask you how you might feel about getting your teeth cleaned or the procedure they are about to perform. They also don’t ask you how they might go about performing it. That would be really scary. “So Bob, how would you like me to drill into you rear molar? Speaking of that, is it your rear molar, or do you think I should pick a different one?” That would be crazy and none of us would ever go back to a dentist. There are plenty of consultants in the world and we hire them for their expertise on a specific topic.

There are so many types of Therapy out there and I want to respect a profession that has supported, helped and done so much good work for so many, so please understand that I am generalizing here. Therapy is often a conversation that is past based, between an expert or Doctor and a patient that often is intended to heal, diagnose, repair emotional, and psychological diagnoses or issues from the past that impact us in the present.

Coaching is a partnership, a co-created conversation, and the coach isn’t the expert of your life. A coach should function as a mirror, to listen and reflect back to you your perspectives so you can look at them with fresh eyes and from there make empowered choices. A coach should be a great listener and an excellent communicator. A Coach views their client as whole, complete and perfect and is focused on coaching through conversation, projects, exercises and goal setting and supporting the client to get from where he/she says to where he/she wants to be.

I think of my clients as high level athletes. Let’s use Michael Phelps as an example. If he were to get hurt, rip something, or break something he would go to a doctor. Now if he needed better speedos that would cut through the water faster, he would go talk to a speedo rep. And if he wanted to get bigger, stronger, faster, increase his performance and take his already top notch gold medal game to a higher level, he would hire a coach. Someone like Michael Phelps doesn’t need a coach/consultant to teach him how to swim, he’s got that. But what he might need is someone to push him, or to reflect the techniques or habits that he’s doing so he can see what is in his blind spot. In other words, what he’s not seeing that maybe blocking him from enhancing his abilities. The coach can’t swim, workout, think, eat or practice for him and the coach can’t even choose the goal, but the coach can support him to get from where he is to where he said he wanted to be through reflection, accountably and support.

So now let’s look at the first two questions, Why hire a coach and do I need a coach? What do you think? Are you already living a great life, but know you could be preforming at an even higher level? Do you know there are things you’d like to be doing that you simply aren’t doing? Do you know that you love your wife, husband or family but you could be connecting more deeply with them? Do you know that you could be making even more money, but you aren’t? Do you know there are habits, behaviors and or beliefs about yourself, others or the world that are holding you back? Do you truly believe you are living your life at 100% and squeezing all the juice out of the lemon?

If you answered yes to all those questions…please reach out to me, as I’d like to hire you to be my coach.

Now the third question, how does the coaching process work? It does vary from coach to coach, but I will answer it as best I can. Coaching sessions are usually occur three or four times a month, typically for about sixty minutes. There are a few different types of coaches, Ontological and Facilitative and what I call Hybrid Coaching (I sorta made this name up).

Ontological is the study of being and ontological coaching has clients looking under the hood, asking and answering questions like; How do I show up in situations? Who am I being when I…? How does my being impact the situations I’m in? This might mean things like, do I show up closed off, kind, excited, or nervous. Do I show up expecting things to go poorly and there for am in a bad mood. Do I relate to people from how they have been in the past or relate to them as the greatness that I know they truly are? It also takes into account how the stories, behaviors and patterns I operate from automatically limit and get in my way? For instance, if the goal is to lose weight, in ontological coaching we’d look at what has you eating the way you are? Who you are being when you eat, when you diet and when you workout. While this is helpful it misses the grounded plan of changing behaviors, patterns and creating actions.

Facilitative coaching is more direct, it’s more of an A to Z plan. It’s creating instructions or a plan to get someone from where the are to a destination. For example, if the goal is to lose weight, we’d simply create a plan, like eat this, work out this much etc. While this is also helpful, it’s missing the piece about why you might be eating or not working out in the first place. It’s missing the being and mindset piece and likely after you reach your goal you’ll go back to the way it was.

Hybrid Coaching does both and it’s the type of coaching I use, practice and am advocating. This type of coaching would have us start by identifying the limiting beliefs, stories, myths you have created about yourself, others, the world and how you fit into it. After we generate some awareness around that, we create practices to start shifting it. We do this because only new awareness paired with action creates lasting change and results. We would also start to create a plan to get you from point A to Z. So as I like to say, we’d be working under the hood as well creating directions for you to drive the car of your life to the destination you want. And, using both ontological and facilitative methods we are able to generate new awareness and create new actions which create results!

So who needs a coach…nobody. But why wouldn’t you want one!

I personally coach Leaders, Creators and Innovators: those brave enough to build dreams.

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© 2015 by DreamMason®️ Inc.

By Alex Terranova