Although at first glance this may seem a non-question, many trainee coaches struggle to define in their own words what coaching actually IS.
So they may say to a new coaching client: “Well, coaching is not mentoring, it’s not consulting, and (sharp intake of breath) its certainly not counselling or therapy....”
Leaving the client wondering - well, what is it?
We all know that if you tell someone not to think of a blue elephant.... well, let me guess what image just flashed through your mind!
Likewise, it’s important as a coach to be able to articulate in the positive what coaching IS and not just what it ISN’T.
When I first trained to become a coach, my mother simply could not understand what a coach was. A doctor herself, my mother’s view of the world was steeped in the Indian culture which traditionally had rigid categories of “professional occupations” such as law, medicine, accounting, engineering and so on. One day she jokingly said to me: “How can YOU be a coach? It doesn’t make sense! A coach is what people take to travel, not a professional occupation!”
And genius as she is, my mother unwittingly helped me clarify what a coach is!! Yes a (bus) coach is a means of transport, and it helps you get from where you are now to where you want to go. And guess what.... a (person) coach helps you do pretty much the same thing in one way or another. Clients come to coaching because they want change. They want more of or less of something in their lives. They want to get to a place they are not today - whether that is in their external or internal world. So maybe coaching is as simple - yet not easy - as that!