What is Professional Coaching and what is not?

The Profession of Coaching is not Clearly Understood by the Public.

Despite an estimated 20 years of business existence and practice, the vast majority of the public is still unknowledgeable about what a coach actually does. Coaching is often (incorrectly) understood by an unknowing public to be a sort of a therapy.

Coaching has been conducted in the business world for 30+ years, coaches have worked with CEO’s, executives and their business teams by utilizing and combining the business coaching approaches to consulting and action planning activities. Through the years and the decades, coaching has expanded from the business environment and ‘life coaching’ has begun to be a more and more used term to indicate the type of coaching offered outside the business or working world.

It is so important that we clarify and honor the amazing benefits that come from coaching and that we do our best to let the public know more about the professions of coaching, so that the consumer can choose the most effective and appropriate service as dictated by individual life circumstances.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the largest professional association of coaches in the world that seeks to preserve the integrity of coaching around the globe. ICF is celebrating 25 years in 2020. Congratulations! In order for the profession of coaching to continue to grow and be correctly and widely recognized all over the world, it is vital that coaches learn to communicate to their prospects, their clients, the public and the media in a language that does not confuse our profession with other seemingly “like” professions.

What is Professional Coaching and what is not?

Coaching is not a “helping profession”, but it is rather a Personal Development Profession, a Personal Growth Profession or a Self Improvement Profession.

Many of our clients experience a greater sense of well being after being coached, they often feel better, energized, serene and more grounded after a coaching session. This is surely a good achievement and a great benefit that a client might receive, but that is not our primary intent as professional coaches. Our work is focused on the ability and willingness of our clients to move forward and take action.

As a Professional Certified Coach, I always avoid making promises about coaching that imply resultant feeling/emotional states or potential outcomes from improved mental health, such as a more fulfilled or happier life, a healed life, or healthier relationships.

Generally speaking, relationship counseling is a therapeutic process that is oriented towards and focuses on the healing of pain, dysfunction and conflict within a relationship.
Relationship coaching focuses on identifying and clarifying the current goals of a relationship with an emphasis on action and accountability on the client’s side.

Coaching offers a really unique experience in relation to the way in which the client interacts with the professional: the client is always ‘the expert’, the driver in this professional relationship. It is the client who define goals and results, who decides how to explore them and what to address in the session, and it is the client who makes the final decision on and initiates the appropriate action.

The coach fulfills the role of a facilitator in this process, so that the clients can fully empower themselves. In order to facilitate the process, the coaches use the coaching approach which is based on many competencies like the active listening, powerful questioning, evoking awareness and above all ‘presence’.

For those who are interested in developing these skills and get the needed training and preparation to become a Professional Coach, can take a look at the following links at the ICF Golden Standards, which are the needed Coaching Competencies to be mastered in the coaching profession and the Ethical Code that Professional Coaches worldwide choose to respect

If you are interested in knowing more about how to get the needed training to become a worldwide recognized Professional Coach, watch our video here

(article inspired by ‘Professional Coaching Language for Greater Public Understanding’ by David Matthew Prior)


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