So… what’s the difference?

There’s a lot of confusion around coaching, mentoring and therapy. It’s useful to know what each does, so that you can figure out what will help you best in your professional and personal life. Read on…

What’s the difference between coaching and mentoring?

It really comes down to the relationship forged between two people.

Coaching helps you find your own solutions to problems. It’s not directive. The focus is usually on task and performance. A coach listens to understand what you’re struggling with and together, you reflect on what you’re going through. As coach, I ask questions that raise awareness. I provide feedback and make suggestions for setting goals. I guide the focus to concrete issues, such as dealing with diversity in your workplace, making sure that you’re being heard and respected, and helping you manage your career more effectively.

Mentoring, on the other hand is more directive. It involves offering guidance, giving advice, instructing and telling. The ultimate goal is to build your capability. A mentor will help you discover you own wisdom by encouraging you to work towards career goals or develop self-reliance. Mentoring is typically long term. It takes time for you and your mentor to learn about one another and build the trust where you can feel secure in sharing the real issues that impact your success.

Okay, so what’s the difference between coaching and therapy?

A coach doesn’t diagnose or treat. A great coach will put the emphasis on your present and future and be action-oriented. As your coach, I view both you and me as creative and resourceful people. We look at your actions and behaviours that boost your self-esteem. We treat negative self-beliefs as temporary obstacles. We look at ‘What’s next? What now?’ As your coach, I work mainly with external issues. I view accountability and ‘homework between sessions’ important. I’m in contact with you between sessions for what you’ve accomplished and the ‘wins’ you’re expecting.

A therapist, on the other hand, tends to take more of a medical-model approach, and focuses on diagnosing and treating. The emphasis is on the past and present.

A therapist is more problem oriented, and will explore the behaviours that created the low self-esteem in the first place. A therapist will ask, ‘Why and from where?’… then work mainly with internal issues. Contact with the therapist between sessions is for crisis and difficulties only.

Is working with a coach for you?

Now that you see the distinctions of coaching, mentoring and therapy, let’s talk about how having a coach in your corner can helping you navigate your career towards prosperity. As a certified coach, I can work with you to help you set goals, and stay on track reaching them, dealing with any roadblocks along the way.

If this is of interest to you, I welcome the opportunity to discuss your goals, needs and challenges.

Our initial 30-minute phone consultation is free

What are you waiting for?...Connect with Shieh-Chi Chen now!


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