We hear the words coach and coaching a lot. Sports teams have coaches. Lots of managers like to say they coach their employees. I am sure you can think of 5 other places you hear someone say they are a coach.

But what does it really mean?

In the context of the coaching that I do, the chart below gives a great framework to use as a reference. Look it over and then lets talk through how I look at each box.

Let’s start with the bottom row.

Both boxes on the bottom use the “tell” methodology. That is, they tell things based on their own knowledge and experience. The information comes from the consultant or mentor and goes to the client.

The consultant is focused on solving a problem with or for the client. The mentor is focused on helping the client learn a new skill and implement it.

So let’s go to the top row. Both boxes on the top row use an “ask” methodology. They work by primarily asking their client questions which guides the client into finding answers within themselves. There is little (but not zero) information flow from the counsellor or coach to the client.

The counselor focuses on helping the client to diagnose and treat a mental illness, usually by focusing on the past and how that past is impacting the client today.

Finally, we arrive at the coach box. The coach asks the client questions to help them explore themselves and the world around them. The focus of coaching is to envision a future and take action to make it a reality. Coaching doesn’t ignore the past, but when we do look into the past it is for the purpose of building and achieving the future.

Which does Shawn do?

My main goal here is to be your coach. I want to guide you to find answers for yourself in order to achieve the most personal growth. But, if you are working on a topic in which I have deep experience, I will let you know. Then based on your desire, I can flow between coach and mentor if you want. IF YOU CHOOSE, I can share some of my experience.

A Cool Video

This video is a great visual of what a coach does. There is sound, but its not really important so I muted it – feel free to unmute if you like. Note that I did not create this video.


Ready to experience coaching for yourself?