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FC01: WHAT IS COACHING?

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Coaching involves a dialogue between a coach and a client with the aim of helping the client obtain a fulfilling life. It blends the best concepts from business, psychology, philosophy, sports and spirituality. But, it is a distinctly different process to that of a consultant, therapist or mentor. As a coach you will be an advocate, a sounding board, a cheerleader, an accountability partner, a truth teller and a supporter.  You will help your clients to discover the answers within themselves.  Download Module


Coaching blends many concepts from business, psychology, philosophy, sports and spirituality.  However, it is a distinct methodology and is different to that of a therapist, consultant, mentor or trainer.

ICA Curriculum - What is Coaching?
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Therapy is not coaching

Therapists and counsellors use their abundant knowledge of human behaviour models and theoretical frameworks to assess, diagnose and create treatment plans to support their clients’ improved mental health. A therapist works with people who need help to understand past experiences in order to become emotionally healthy and make behaviour changes today. Coaches also work to make behaviour changes but are focussed on goal setting and supporting the client to identify for themselves what they need to address or work on in order to move forward. Therapists spend more time excavating and understanding the past than coaches and are the acknowledged experts in determining what actions the clients should take next. Coaches are interested in working with functional clients to help them become exceptional and rely on their client to build action plans.


Training is not coaching

Trainers are also acknowledged experts in their fields with the additional capacity as knowledge transfer experts. Trainers have specific goals called learning objectives for their clients (students) and use a variety of methods to support the students to take on that learning. Coaches also support the clients to learn but our focus is on the client’s own learning from what they are uncovering in the conversation. Coaches do have a role in sharing information, opinions and thoughts but do so from a place of offering this to the client for consideration - there is no expectation or obligation for the client to accept it or use it. Unlike trainers, coaches do not test their clients at the end of a session.


Mentoring is not coaching

Mentoring is a relationship that is established with someone who is an expert and more experienced member of the mentee’s field. While the mentor does assess and seek to understand their mentee’s needs, they then bestow the full benefit of their knowledge, connections, and wisdom by offering feedback, guidance and advice. A coaching relationship, on the other hand, is a partnership whereby the coach brings their coaching skills to work with the client’s knowledge, connections, and wisdom so that the client may make their own way forward. The coach supports the client in drawing on their own wisdom and following their inner guidance.


Consulting is not coaching

Coaching is often likened to consulting. However, there are distinct differences between these disciplines. A consultant is a specialist in their consultancy area and works with a client to solve a particular problem or to address a specific issue. Generally a consultant begins by assessing the client’s current situation, analyzes their findings, makes specific recommendations and creates a plan for the implementation of their recommendations.  Once the consultant has made the recommendations, they are usually finished with the project and the client is left to solve the problem by implementing the plan. Coaches also work with a client to identify a problem area and work towards solutions. The primary difference between consultancy and coaching is that coaches are not the experts in the client’s problem area - in fact, coaches trust that the client is the expert in their own life. The coach collaborates with the client to create a solution using the client’s knowledge and insights. With the coach working side by side, the client examines the situation, analyzes their findings, and creates a plan of action that they then implement.

Which Program to Choose?

When choosing a program it's important to consider how you would like to learn (which might be different to how you have learnt before), what pathway options are available to for further study or credentialing, program value for money,  and  how the program will fit your lifestyle.  To help you make these key decisions, we've shared some insights into our program.  Take the Program Selection Quiz to find the program best for you.

PROGRAM SELECTION QUIZ