One of the core elements of the ICF Code of Ethics which all ICF members are required to abide by is explaining the nature of coaching, clarifying roles, and setting boundaries with the coachee. A big part of this is helping the coachee identify the right type of help for them. Sometimes coaching is the right solution; at other times training, an advisory relationship, or therapy is more appropriate. All of these are valuable assets in a personal development journey. Coaches are also responsible for recognising their own development needs which may include any combination of these strategies. Finding the right tool at the right time is an important part of a path to personal growth.
Coaching typically focuses on goal-setting, working towards specific desired outcomes, and managing personal change. The focus is on action, accountability, and follow-through for future change-making.
Training involves objectives set by the instructor or an advisory body based on an established curriculum of specific learning.
Advisors and consultants offer their expertise and domain-specific knowledge to clients, designing and sometimes implementing solutions.
Therapy is typically focused on healing psychological wounds, often but not always from the past, which are preventing an individual’s emotional well-being in the present.
The ICF’s FAQs on finding and working with a coach have more food for thought on the differences between service professions and how to know which one is right for you.