Professional Coaching is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.
In each meeting, the client chooses the focus of conversation, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. This interaction creates clarity and moves the client into action. Coaching accelerates the client's progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice. Coaching concentrates on where clients are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future. ICF member coaches recognize that results are a matter of the client's intentions, choices and actions, supported by the coach's efforts and application of the coaching process.
Source: International Coach Federation, www.coachfederation.org
While the terms are used interchangeably, coaching and mentoring are not the same. There is some similarity and overlap. Historically, mentoring was a relationship between someone who was older and wiser sharing their experiences with someone who was experiencing things that they once did. Today, people seek mentors within their industry or within their organizations that can give them specific technical expertise or enlighten them on internal politics. Modern mentoring relationships are based on a more mutual, collaborative learning alliance, similar to coaching. Coaching can be viewed as a style of relationship that can be employed in mentoring. Mentoring, on the other hand, cannot necessarily be viewed as a style of relationship that can be employed in coaching.
“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living – if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way.” – Denzel Washington