Coaching, Mediation, Mentoring, Teaching, Consultancy, Therapy, Counseling, Training = Coaching?

Following my previous post on ‘Is coaching taking over?’ I decided to explore the differences and commonalities of coaching towards consultancy, counseling, mentoring, mediation, therapy, teaching and training. So let’s see if coaching is taking over…

Coaching and Mentoring refer to what we are supposed to achieve making clear the current and future state of things. Coaching bridges the gap allowing the coachee (client) to find their own way and is based on present and work related issues. Mentoring  is about assistance, guidance, advice in the assumption that leading by example and asking the mentored to follow his steps success ensues. Mediation is interestingly different. It is a process (people, process, problem) wherein you have at least two parties and a mediator. The mediator identify issues, develop options, consider alternatives, enlighten both parties about the consequences of those options and then creates a common agenda of consensual actions and connects them to desired outcomes. This translates into win-win agreements. Mediation is focused on resolving conflict, coaching starts with the individual and in that assuming the coachee has the potential to prevent the conflict to happen. Therefore, “same, same but different” (in aims).
Consultancy and coaching have a similar focus – business. Notwithstanding, coaching is focused on the development of the individual and his/her skills themselves whilst consultancy strives for providing answer to burning problem or question. Consultancy – training blended both and placed corporate training between consultancy and teaching. Teaching and skills training are activities aiming at transferring knowledge through a sequence of activities and interactions. Some more interactive and agile other unilaterally communicated to people who are expected to learn and demonstrate – trainee or students. Coaching on the other hand provides support to enhance coachee skills and inspire him to maximize his/her personal and professional potential. Soft-skills training is indeed closer to coaching. Nevertheless, a primary assumption that sets coaching apart is that the coachee is the expert not the trainer or teacher. Last but not least, the difference between counseling, therapy and coaching. Coaching is focusing on growth. Both therapy and counseling like in Mediation deal with a problem. Coaching explores the problem as an opportunity to evolve. Is constructive and positive.

Cross-reference on Coaching semantics and other intervention methods


Counseling Mentoring Mediation Therapy Teaching


Coaching Both focus on business but provide different ways to solve them.

Coaching understands that the individual has the solution whilst consultancy the consultant has it.

Counseling aims at fixing the problem usually ending up with one solution. Coaching aims at exploring the problem with the intent to have the coachee finding his own solutions. Mentoring is about following the steps of the wise more experience mentor. Coaching is about allowing the coachee to find his own way. Very close to coaching but aimed at solving conflicts. So mediation would be more reactive alas Coaching more proactive in that the coachee awareness shall prevent conflict to happen. Same as Counseling aims at fixing the problem. Usually more serious and involving physiological or biological implications Coaching aims at healing using coachee own awareness power of healing. Transferring knowledge assuming the teacher knows and the student is ignorant. In coaching the coachee not the coach is an expert.

Hard skills or job related training is similar to teaching. Soft skills training is closer to coaching assuming the trainee needs nurturing of his natural abilities.

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