Coaching is defined as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and believe every client is creative and resourceful. The coach’s responsibility is to:

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while developing leadership skills and unlocking potential.

Coaching addresses issues the person being coached would like to consider and include (but are not limited to):

Counseling or Psychotherapy

Counseling typically deals with pain, dysfunction, and conflict. The focus is often on resolving past difficulties that hamper an individual’s emotional functioning and dealing with the present in emotionally healthy ways.

In contrast, coaching supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. Coaching is future-focused. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through. International Coach Federation (ICF) members are trained to discern when a client may need counseling and refer prospective or current clients to therapists when appropriate.


Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise in a specific area. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is that the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and sometimes implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.


A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling, and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising and counseling but focuses instead on the individual or group identifying and reaching their own objectives.


Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Training assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear and is not limited by a set curriculum.

All of the above definitions are from the International Coach Federation.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

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