What do coaches actually do?

Trying to explain what coaching is, is my only problem with coaching!

It is something very specific, yet changeable…something concrete and yet fluid, something with very visible results and clear outcomes and yet something I am still unable to define in a way that does it any kind of justice when speaking to someone who hasn’t experienced it yet.

What I can describe well, is what coaching is not. So let’s start there…

Coaching is not mentoring.

A mentor is someone you choose because you can learn from them. They may have expertise in a certain subject area or a bit more life or work experience than you. This enables them to advise and guide you as you try to improve yourself or your job opportunities.

This differs from coaching as someone who is truly coaching you will not guide, direct, advise or fix anything for you. They can challenge your decisions and your beliefs around certain topics but will only do this with your permission, and will focus on gently questioning you in order for you to grow and feel less stuck in any area of life.

In summary, a mentor is an expert in a particular field, and you benefit from their knowledge. A coach assumes that you are an expert on your own life and decisions, and they will take joint responsibility with you to see you move forwards and change and grow into the person and the lifestyle that you truly want.

Coaching is not consulting.

Lots of coaches also offer consultancy. This can be of huge benefit to your organisation, however they are two very different skillsets and two different types of interactions between you and your coach. A consultant comes in, gathers information, observes the current state of affairs and comes up with a solution based approach to solve a problem or need that you have. You can of course, choose not to take this on board, but you are paying the consultant for their insight, strategy, input and outcome orientated plan. A coach may appear to be doing similar things but they will only ever give input if this is explicitly agreed and it will not be dictated to you (any information or knowledge shared will be offered to you as a suggestion and ‘held’ very lightly). They will also assume that you have full responsibility to do all the work needed between sessions. A coach can hold you accountable to seeing these changes happen but they do not instruct, offer opinions or tell you all their ideas for how things could be improved.

Coaching is not therapy.

Coaching is almost always future focused. Generally counsellors and therapists are looking to your past in order to help you resolve your current issues. They assess and listen to your current situation, offer ways to improve this and ‘prescribe’ a certain number of sessions and / or helpful tools to help you overcome difficulties you are having.  You can come to coaching for a variety of reasons… from needing accountability for sorting out your diary or processing a difficult conversation you’ve had recently, to planning for future change or reassessing how things are going in life. You can talk about anything and everything that will be useful for you, however big or small an issue, to ensure you move forward in your personal or work life. This may sometimes cover some ‘counselling type’ topics but we will only go to these places if we explicitly agree that we are ok with that on the particular day.

Coaching is not training.

There is not a curriculum, a target or a learning point for each session during your coaching. The topic of each session is agreed on the day and is decided by you. Each session is structured to ensure it is the most effective for where you are on the day. Sometimes this means we will reference what has been said or done at previous sessions, and other times we may talk about a stand alone subject that needs our attention on a one off occasion.  Every session is future focused and enables you to think in new ways about yourself and the things you most need to see a shift with. You will be learning new things but this will come from seeing things though a new lens, increasing your emotional intelligence and self awareness and coming up with your own brilliant solutions to things.

Coaching in this context is not related to sport!

Now here’s where it gets confusing, because everything I’ve said that coaching is not, is what it can look like in a sports coaching environment! A sports coach does mentor and teach you, they can have therapeutic training and know how to improve your team when they are in consultation mode. They get you to where you need to be because they are an expert in their field and because they have complete belief in you and your capabilities.

So where does this leave us?

As a coach I am here to cheer you on and to have an unwavering belief that you will see change and transformation in the everyday things and in the things you feel most stuck with. It will bring breakthrough, and I can encourage you to keep thinking things through from new perspectives.

Helen Keller says: ‘we can do anything we want to if we stick with it long enough.’ You may have a lot of brilliant ideas and intentions but it is a well known fact that we often do not do the things we want to do. And that is why coaching works. Accountability is set up in the way you personally need it and we put things in place to ensure you reach your goals and increase your understanding of yourself and others around you. We pre-ept the obstacles, dream big and plan easy, actionable steps to get to your end goal.

The results of coaching are actually pretty profound. A recent study showed that people having coaching reported:

80% improved self-confidence

73% improved relationships

72% improved communication skills

67% improved work/life balance

57% improved time management


Imagine that for a moment.

What would improving your self-confidence by 80% do for you? What if you were able to improve your communication skills by 72%, or increase your time management by 57%?

I’d say that would be pretty life changing.

So who am I as your coach? I facilitate a safe space where I am actively listening and fully present with what you need and when. It is a fast paced and future focused environment, which we are both fully invested in, in order to see you move forward in any or all areas of your life.

Still not sure what it will involve?

Let’s just give it a try and you can see how much change can happen in a small amount of well used time.

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