Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes, and managing personal change. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand coaching by distinguishing it from other personal or organizational support professions.

  • Therapy. Therapy is mostly rooted in the past and deals with healing pain, dysfunction, and conflict. The focus is often on improving overall psychological functioning. Coaching, on the other hand, is future-focused and supports personal and professional growth based on actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life.
  • Consulting. Individuals or organizations retain consultants to diagnose problems and do the work to develop and implement the solutions. With coaching, the individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks along the way.
  • Athletic Development. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge. Professional coaches possess these qualities, but their experience and knowledge of the individual or team determines the direction, and the focus is not on winning or losing.