Frequently Asked Questions about Coaching:
1 How is coaching different from counseling?
The primary difference between counseling and coaching is that counseling focuses on the treatment of mental illness or trauma whereas coaching focuses on increasing fulfillment or achievement for people who are considered to be functioning well. This doesn’t mean that the coaching client can’t have anxiety or sadness at times, but rather that those symptoms are manageable and do not get in the way of daily function. Counseling works with building coping skills and exploring past events to treat current dysfunctional mood or behavior patterns. While coaching tends to work from the present forward building on strengths and developing skills to meet future goals. The goal of counseling is to provide understanding and awareness to promote change whereas coaching is action oriented, that can include self-awareness, but only as a means to move toward a specific goal.
2 Is your holistic perspective religiously based?
No, holism is the concept that we are more than the sum of our parts. The idea that the self cannot be disconnected from the function of the mind, body and spirit. In terms of coaching that means that deciding on a goal or taking action is best done when not only considering what the mind has to say but also listening to the body’s emotional and physical reaction as well as the spirit’s opinion about what it all means. For me the spirit is that inner quality of a person that is very aware of the true self and how it connects to the larger fabric of life. It’s the part of you that observes your current experience and makes meaningful connections to where you have been and where you want to go next. It’s that gut feeling that knows what is truly best for you because it is connected to the creative energy behind your thoughts and bodily functions. For some spiritual connection comes within a religious framework but it doesn’t have to. For me it is a more quiet and personal journey.
3 Can I benefit from coaching if I also see a counselor for mental health concerns?
Yes so long as your mental health concerns are not impairing your judgment with regard to decision making, self-care and daily function. Coaching is meant to provide support to a well-functioning person and cannot take the place of mental health treatment. Combining Coaching with Therapy works best with collaboration between both professionals as a team approach. It is important for your success that your coaching goals balance well with your mental health treatment goals. Coaching can work well with the therapeutic process by adding support between therapy sessions, increasing motivation, helping to maintain focus and supporting follow through on action steps needed to meet agreed upon goals.
4 How long do people typically need Coaching?
There is no official time limit on Coaching. It is really up to you and how you feel. Sometimes it can end with the completion of a goal but not always. You may have built your skills to a point where you feel comfortable finishing the action plan on your own. If not that is what your coach is there for. There are rare occasions where people can become too dependent on a coach. If that happens there may be a new goal needed to decrease dependence over time. The ultimate goal of the coach is to promote independence by helping you build your strengths to get where you want to go and then supporting you in finding the stamina to maintain your success when you get there.
5 What is the difference between coaching and consulting?
Consultants are experts hired to offer advice on fixing a problem or situation. If they are involved in the process of change the focus is usually on trouble shooting and results. In coaching we partner with the client and brainstorm on solutions together. We encourage clients to uncover their own wisdom to work with challenges. This teaches skills that can be used again with other future obstacles beyond the coaching experience. Depending on the goal coaches can offer suggestions but not without coordinating with the client.
6 What is the advantage of working with a coach who is also licensed as a counselor?
Many of the skills practiced in counseling are very similar to those needed in coaching. The focus is really the main difference. Counseling looks to the past to help with present issues coaching starts in the present and works to better the future. The advantage of a licensed counselor is that the years of training and experience required to carry a license. Counseling explores the many layers of the human experience and helps to increase self-awareness as a way to make change in the present. It requires a counselor with the ability to listen behind the words to help uncover hidden thought patterns and behavior that might sabotage client efforts. Counselors also refrain from offering advice and encourage the client to come to the right conclusions for themselves. In my coaching practice I bring those skills to the work and support my clients in understanding why the goals they choose are important. Understanding that has helped them develop more meaningful and efficient action plans as well as a better environment for lasting success in the end.
7 Is there a time when coaching is not the best course of action?
Yes, if you are in crisis Coaching may not be right for you at this time. Coaching does not have the capacity to treat the multilayers of overall mental health. At this time it is important for you to get support for your immediate needs. Taking care of yourself is the top priority. In the future once your situation or condition is stabilized coaching could be considered an option for future goal planning and moving forward. Coaching cannot replace good mental health care.
For more information or to schedule an appointment call:
Lauri Maynard, M.A., LMHC
Certified Personal Coach