In my first article (Coaching vs. Mentoring Part 1), I introduced readers to Concept Blog series called “Mind the Gap.” I explained that In the London Underground, “Mind the Gap!” is the constant warning to “see and beware” of the space between the platform and the train door…literally a matter of life and death!
I am a world-class coach. I live and breath Coaching and am also challenged when people fail to understand it or think they understand it when they are actually confusing it with other things.
What IS the Difference between Coaching and ANYTHING else it might be mistaken for?
In Part 1, we broke down how Coaching is different from athletics coaching, friendship, and psychotherapy. Now we will look at how Coaching is different from, Training, Consulting, and Mentoring.
FIRST: Coaching is not Training
Three very important distinctions make it easy to see how Coaching differs from Training:
1. Training is consumption based, whereas Coaching is conversation based. In a training, you might learn how to get to a specific destination, checking off the boxes until you get to the end. It is usually one-way communication from a Trainer that is usually teaching “one way” to do something to the Learners…and the Learners ask questions. In a Coaching relationship, there can be many ways to get to the end result and it requires a 2-way interaction between coach and client.
Like Dr. Nido Qubein (Nido) says, “Teaching people skills without giving them a vision for a better future - a vision based on common values - is only training.” A coach must help his client to explore and connect with a vision for how their life could be better and feel better. What are the goals in all areas of life that need to be achieved in order to have that future? What are the ways to get there? What kind of help is needed in each are to help you get there?
2. Training is concerned with the HOW and making sure people know how to do things, where Coaching is more concerned with the WHY. If we can get to the WHY, then any HOW becomes available to us. In Coaching, when someone asks me, “Coach, how do I do this, how do I do that?”
I have to first ask them, “Why do you want to do it?” If they can get really connected to their why and their motivation, they’ll be able to run through a brick wall to get it. They will find the how. A Get A Klu Coach will start a coaching relationship with goal setting that gets people rooted in their motivation, they're why of everything…and THEN the “hows” reveal themselves.
To quote Nido, “Training teaches how. Education teaches why.” Often, training in a vacuum or training just by itself can often miss the mark of its desired effect. It really needs to accompany the WHY. Why are we training? What’s the purpose of it? This allows people to make the proper adjustments when they’re doing the HOW in real time.
Years ago, when you could still rent movies on VHS and DVD, I went into a Blockbuster. The kid at the counter had been trained HOW to greet customers coming in. He knew what do to and as I walked in, his words welcomed me into the store but his actions were in doing something else. He hadn’t been taught the WHY of greeting customers; to make that connection and make everyone feel welcome in the store.
The greeting was simply something he checked off his to-do list vs. any genuine connection…so it had the opposite effect of the intended outcome. Does that make sense? So, training without “education” is like the HOW without the WHY…and way less effective when the two are combined! My Coaches Training Program would only be one hour if we were to just cover the HOW. It's our WHY that matters.
For example: WHY do we train Coaches HOW to give 2 complimentary sessions? Why not zero, 1 or 3 complimentary sessions? There are at least nine reasons WHY we do 2 complimentary sessions. Once you know those reasons it’s easier to execute the how. If I just told you to execute the sessions, you’d still be wondering, “How do I do this?” Once they know all the reasons WHY the HOW makes sense at a deeper level and our trainees are able to move forward executing complimentary sessions that lead to enrolling paying clients.
3. Training is competency-based. In many pieces of training, you can miss 3 out of 10 on the quiz or test and still “pass” and get your certificate. Coaching, on the other hand, is not competency-based. We are POTENTIAL and GOAL based. This means that our focus is “whatever it takes” to get the desired results.
A simple example is that coaching may recommend someone delegate a task…whereas training demands the learner is the tactician. Training creates “to-do” lists while Coaching prefers “stop-doing” lists. A training can be something that is learned and forgotten whereas coaching becomes part of who you are.
You never have to pass a test in a coaching session, but after a session, you’ll take the action you need to take to get what you need to get. We mustn’t mistake activity for achievement. Training is obviously necessary for many areas of the world but when it comes to personal or professional growth, my vote is for coaching every time.
SECOND: Coaching is not Consulting
The distinctions here can be a little tricky to make clear because when you look at the definition of consulting, it mentions being hired for your expertise, and coaching fits that definition. Still:
1. The key distinction of Coaching vs. Consulting lies in the consultant having a deliverable to produce for the client. Simply put, a consultant does work and turns over that work. Even if they are giving expertise, that expertise is going to come in the form of a report or document or “work product” that is handed over to the company who now owns that document.
In Coaching, we don’t do the work…the Coaching is the work. Whether it’s in a group or one-on-one, we come together and talk, then the client goes and does the work, and reports back to the coach. In consulting, after getting clear on the scope of the work, the consultant then DOES the work and is responsible for presenting a deliverable.
There can be differences in how the fees are structured. Fees can be set on a value base, flat fee, hourly, or stipend. The key distinction between Coaching and Consulting is the person who does the work. Now, a Coach can also Consult and create multiple revenue streams. I am a world class coach, but my business as a Personal and Professional Growth Expert includes Consulting, Training, AND Coaching.
A consultant may have to do some coaching, debriefing, analysis or research, write reports, etc. Maybe that’s why consultants make the big bucks. But all of that work comes back to a deliverable that the consultant is responsible for. Again, a coach doesn’t do the work. Coaching IS the work.
A coach will take notes in a session and guide the client by asking the right questions, steer them in the right direction, document the commitments, and follow up with them on a session to session basis. Ideally, being ABLE to coach and consult can be more rewarding for both the client and the coach. For the Coach who can also Consult, Consulting would be a different line item on the invoice!
THIRD (and FINALLY): Coaching is not Mentoring
An upfront distinction, in many cases, is that mentoring is free. This is BECAUSE of another key distinction: that a mentor has the exact experience or life that the mentee wants for themselves. It’s about following in the exact footsteps of the mentor. The subject matter expertise and day to day activities are exactly what the mentee wants to know and do.
This is very different from coaching, training, and consulting because each of these services is only a piece of what the student/trainee/client must do overall to get their desired outcomes. As a coach, I’ve worked with numerous companies I knew nothing about until I began/continued working with them. I didn’t need to know about glass etching to Coach the owner, CEO and Sales/Marketing teams.
I didn’t need to know how to outfit the culinary industry in order to provide Executive Coaching to the VP’s of Human Resources and Marketing. I didn’t need to know anything about insurance and the regulations of insurers in order to coach the nation’s Top Producing Farmers Insurance Agent. I don’t need to know what a 1031 exchange is to be able to help mortgage brokers and realtors.
I don’t even need to know the regulatory requirements around moving seniors from a private home into assisted living in order to help a business owner Franchise her model. I could go on and on about all the different people I’ve coached without needing to know the intricacies of the work they do.
What do I need to know? I need to know how to coach. This is important because as a coach, I know how to motivate people and I know how to hold them accountable. I know how to conduct coaching sessions to get my clients taking action that will move them forward in whatever part of life they want.
Whether the client is a graphic designer, grower, and distributor of medical marijuana, or a financial advisor, whatever they do, I don’t need to know how they do it. It might be very interesting to know, but when you look at all the fun things people do, knowing how to guide them into their potential so they can take action towards achieving those goals, no matter what industry they’re in, is really what I’m doing. Isn’t that cool?
As a mentor, however, I need to know exactly how to do every part of that job. If I’m going to mentor someone to be a coach, it’s a good idea for me to know how to coach. It’s even better than I am a world class coach. I can mentor someone who wants to be a coach. Not only that, a world-class coach. If that’s not what you’re looking for then I am not the mentor for you.
I could also mentor professors, especially professors of communication or public speaking, sales trainers, public speaking trainers, staffing consultants who want to be competent on strategic staffing both from the employer and candidate perspective, recruiters, and headhunters because I’ve done these things. I’ve done these things very successfully and I understand them.
So, can you see the difference between mentoring and coaching? Your coach does not need to have experience in your disciplines, and as a matter of fact, it’s sometimes better if they don’t because they might have bias and so forth. But a mentor MUST know absolutely everything the MENTEE wants to know and do and ideally has DONE what they want to know and do.
As we conclude “Part 2” of Coaching vs. Mentoring we continued to “Mind the Gap” of differences between Coaching and other things it could be mistaken for (Friendship, Athletics Coaching, Psychotherapy, Training, and Consulting) we finally covered how coaching is different from Mentoring.
Those are the main distinctions. Here at Get A Klu, Inc., we do coaching, consulting, staffing, sales training, marketing, branding, and even mentoring for the right people in the right areas. If you’re curious to experience what Get A Klu Coaching is all about, we would love to offer you Two Complimentary Sessions.
Jeff Klubeck is the owner of Get A Klu Inc., he studied Communication at San Diego State University, and Lives in San Diego, California. He is a Coach, Professor and Influencer. A Genius in his own right.