I can't say it better than my mentors, so I am quoting them here.
Artwork by David Luraschi (yes, my brother!), discover his work here.
Excerpt from “Coaching for Transformation” by M. Lasley, V. Kellogg, R. Michaels, S. Brown
What is Coaching?
Coaching emerged as a way to provide support and guidance for individuals moving through a change process towards greater effectiveness and fulfillment.
Coaching is part of the cultural shift from a pathology world view to a resourceful world view. In the pathology world view, problems are identified, evaluated and solutions are implemented, usually by outside experts. In contrast, coaches and clients work together from a resourceful point of view—collaborating as partners to explore opportunities and identify resources to create an exciting future based on awareness and action. Coaching is worldchanging, as well as life-changing work. Although coaching is a fast-growing profession, many people confuse coaching with giving people advice. In practice, coaching is an empowering process where the coach asks rigorous questions so that clients discover their own creative solutions. (…)
We define coaching as “a partnership that maximizes human potential.”
How does coaching differ from other helping professions?
Coaching is not mentoring, consulting, training, psychotherapy or counseling. While coaching shares the end goals of learning and growth with these professions, the focus and process of coaching differ in significant ways.
Therapy (psychotherapy or counseling) frequently focuses on the past and healing—assisting clients in healing psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, phobia, trauma, destructive behaviors and addiction. Coaches are not trained to heal psychological problems and refer their clients to therapists when warranted. Instead of analyzing the past, coaching looks forward to create a more desirable future. Coaching is primarily learning and action oriented, moving people towards the fulfillment of their life purpose, dreams and goals.
Consulting typically focuses on developing the whole organization systemically. Consultants work with senior leaders providing expertise and interventions to develop leadership skills, strategies, structures, policies and procedures to improve the effectiveness of the organization. Consultants are usually hired to address specific problems, design interventions and offer solutions. In contrast, coaches support clients in discovering and creating their own solutions. Many consultants offer coaching as part of their services.
Mentoring is a relationship in which the mentor offers expertise, experience, wisdom and connections to help someone within a particular field. People choose mentors to help them develop or achieve specific goals. As coaches, we wear a different hat and instead of providing our wisdom, advice or expertise, we support clients in tapping into their own wisdom and resourcefulness.
Training and teaching are professions in which knowledge is imparted to support learning. Rather than teaching how to do something, coaches help people access their own inner and outer learning resources