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Friday, 29th of September 2017
You think you know what coaching is? You're probably wrong!


At this moment everything is running pretty smooth for you. You don't actually face a problem. Sure there are some things that could be better, and probably you have some dreams and ambitions in the back of your mind.
At the same time you see and hear all those advertisements, announcements, blog posts, self-help books, podcasts, . of all those experts who are more than willing to help you. But you don't really have a problem, do you?
You even almost believe that you should have a problem when there is such a big market of problem solvers out there...
So all that coaching is not for you. Right?

Well, let me make it a bit more complex before I'm going to simplify things.
Coaching is an absolute buzz word! You see and hear it everywhere. The question is whether the word is always used in the correct connotation.
The answer is direct and simple: NO.

There is a difference between teaching, mentoring, counseling and coaching.
And I know that there are a lot of -so called- coaches who actually fall into one of the other categories. Now that doesn't say anything about the quality of their work. They are probable all very good in what they do. It just creates a lot of clutter in choosing what's right for you.

Teaching is clear. If you want to learn something, if you want to add knowledge, if you want to upgrade your skills, then this is the way to go.
Mentoring can be the next step after teaching. You know the skill, but perhaps you're still a bit unsure about the application of it. With a mentor at your side, you can confidently apply what you've learned, because there's someone who has your back, and is able to fine tune what you do.
Those two are easy to understand. Although sometimes there is already a mix up between mentoring and coaching, it's still quite easy to see the difference.
What is mostly unclear for many people is the difference between counseling and coaching.
Counseling is actually a more (emotional) problem focused approach with the goal to solve something. In a work context you could say that counseling can help you to improve your performance: solving those things that block or undermine your performance.
This also means that there are many "coaches" who are actually more counselors. A burn-out coach for example is actually more a burn-out counselor (although the approach might incorporate some coaching). That unclarity unfortunately has much to do with the popularity, and probably misunderstanding, of the word "coaching".

For many people it's very appealing to get into the business of helping other people. And what is the best way to help people? Right, to focus on a specific problem that they have. But then you're most likely not a coach but a counselor.

Then what is coaching?
In contrast to counseling, coaching is not problem focused. It's solution focused. Coaching has not the goal to improve something. It has the goal to increase something that is already good. So having a coach is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength, because you are going to make something better which is already good!
You could ask yourself the question why such an approach is useful. If you want to make progress in your performance, you will need to fix your weaknesses, right?
That doesn't need to be the case. Sometimes it's OK to just let things be as they are, because they could become totally irrelevant once you start focusing on other things.

With those differences in your mind, it becomes easier to determine which support you need for what. Teaching, mentoring and counseling (unfortunately mostly framed under the word coaching) is widespread and easy to find. And if you need them, great!
However, it surprises me a lot how less pure coaching is out there these days.
I immediately have to admit that I'm also not a 100% clean coach. In many of my interventions there also is a bit of mentoring and sometimes even teaching involved. Nevertheless, I try to be as clean as possible in the coaching that I offer, without to many teaching, mentoring or counseling.

Now, why is all of this important for you?
Because the more clear it is for you which offerings are out there, and the more clear it is for you what you want to achieve, the easier it is to find it.

For example: in the coaching that I have to offer, I start with the assumption that 90% of all the knowledge and skills to realise your goals is already in you. So with me you will not "learn" new things that you didn't already knew. Maybe we have to dust them off a bit, but they are already inside yourself. So I don't have to teach you about it.
Probably you even practised the knowledge and skills you have inside yourself. So I also don't need to mentor you on it.
The dream or ambition you want to realise, is not about solving a problem. It's about a realisation of new or more things in an easier way. So there's also no counseling involved.
The coaching then is focused on making that dream or ambition very tangible, on taking the first steps towards that big dream or ambition, on actually doing it, and keep doing it in a consistent way, and make it happen!

You could use the image of a running coach: almost everybody knows that running is good for your health. Most people can go for a run. There even are a lot of people who actually already do it. But with the right coaching, they will get better in it, will run more efficient, will boost their progress, will become able to run faster or longer, and will experience more joy in it while performing better!
That's what (my) coaching is all about!

Do you want to experience it for yourself?
Go to the "work-with-me" page to discover more about how it is to work with me, and immediately book your free clarity session so you can experience it for yourself!

See you soon!

Geschreven door Dennis Fredrickx

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