I have noticed that quite a few people do not have a clear view on what ‘personal coaching’ means. Everybody knows the sport coach or the wellness and fitness coach. I am often asked what is the difference between coaching and therapy, or between coaching and that other well-known service, consultancy.
What all these different approaches have in common, is that they help individuals to evolve to a desired state or situation: better (sport) performances, losing weight, healthier eating habits, career switch, finding a balance after burn-out or traumatic experiences, tackling disfunction due to mental or emotional problems, etc..
With sport and health coaches, certain types of therapy, consultancy, etc.. the service provider often sets the agenda and takes the expert role, whereby the client is more at the receiving end and follows the recommendations of the expert. With different (but not all) forms of therapy, the focus is on what happened in the past of the client and how this influences his/her current condition. The therapist has been trained to diagnose problems and works with the client to help the healing of emotional or mental wounds.
As described before, it is not the role of the coach to give advice or to help solve someone’s problem. Coaches are also not trained to make a diagnosis and do not focus on solving emotional problems. On the other side it is true that when clients make courageous life choices during a coaching process, they often experience a feeling of ‘healing’, the breaking of old patterns and connections, the escape from a limiting space and stepping into a new force.
Therapy is often about the past - healing wounds. Coaching is about the future. It's about creating a future that's different from the future that would have arrived by default if you had no coach and no sense of creativity and no commitment.