Coaching – What it is & is not

In today’s business world, performance matters. You are judged by your last project, production and daily successes or failures. It is all about being savvy, reaching goals, common sense, street smarts, resilience and adaptability. A coach can partner with you in achieving your goals.

To determine whether coaching is for you, it is important to know what coaching is and what it is not.

What Is Coaching?

First and foremost coaching is a collaborative, co-creative partnership that helps people get from where they are to where they want to be.

The definition of coaching according to the International Coach Federation is as follows:

“Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.


Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.

Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.”


What Coaching is not?

Coaching’s methodology draws from a range of traditional professions such as psychology, business consulting and mentoring YET it is not any of these.  Coaching is a unique process and there are significant differences between the above listed professions. Specifically:

  • Coaches are typically not a trained psychologists, counselors, family counselors, behavioral counselors, or therapists, where the focus of these professions is to help the client resolve a disease, dysfunction or disorder via some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process.
  • Mentoring is a relationship that is established between a more senior individual (mentor) and a lesser skilled or experienced individual (mentee). It is a collaborative, mutually beneficial partnership aimed at promoting the personal and professional development of both the mentee and mentor.

Although coaching and mentoring are processes that enable individuals to achieve their full potential and share many things in common, there is a distinct difference.

  • The focus of coaching is to improve performance and skills. It is collaborative and starts from the client’s strengths.
  • Coaches do not give advice; they provide encouragement and urge continuous improvement.
  • Coaches hold the client accountable for trying new things and using his or her strengths to get results.
  • Using a driving a car analogy, the coach will seat you in the car, place him/herself in the passenger seat and encourage, endorse, acknowledge and support you until you develop your own driving style and feel comfortable enough to go it alone. The mentor will share his experiences of driving cars and the wisdom and lessons he has learned in his rich experience with them.

Bottom Line: If you need someone to assist you in enhancing your performance and “unlocking your potential” with you in the drivers seat, hire a coach.

At Foursight, our coaches are Certified Professional Coaches, through the International Coaching Academy (  Dr. Judy Laws is a ICF ACC. Contact us at for more information.


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