1) Coaching v/s Mentoring

a) How is Coaching different than mentoring?

Coaching and mentoring both provide guidance and help in professional development but they differ in their approaches, goals, and dynamics. The key differences between coaching and mentoring

Focus and Purpose: Coaching focusses on achieving specific goals or addressing specific challenges. It is usually 6 months to one-year specific goal-oriented relationship between a coach and coachee aimed at enhancing performance, personal development and achieving specific outcomes. Whereas mentoring focusses on providing guidance, advice, and support based on the mentor’s experience and expertise. The primary purpose of mentoring is to help the mentee’s overall career development and personal growth over longer period.

Coaches don’t necessarily need to have direct experience in the field or the role of the person being coached. In the coaching conversation, coaches use various coaching techniques and questioning strategies to help the coachee discover the solutions on their own. The process helps the coachee enhance their way of thinking to strengthen and develop capabilities required to achieve their goals. Whereas mentors usually have extensive experience in the field relevant to the mentee. They share their knowledge, insights and advice based on their own experience.

Approach: Coaches don’t give advice and they don’t share their knowledge or expertise but ask open ended questions to help a coachee explore their thoughts, identify obstacles, and develop actionable plans. The emphasis is to empower the coachee to find their own solution, this helps the coachee gain confidence in their ability to perform a task or solve the problem. Whereas the mentors provide guidance, share their stories, and offer advice based on their personal experience. They may also provide direct solutions which a coach would never does. 

b) Is a coach who has experience or a role similar to the client better than the coach who has a different experience?

A prevailing misconception often suggests that the effectiveness of a coach is directly correlated with their industry-specific experience and tenure. While it is true that industry expertise is valuable, equating it with coaching excellence oversimplifies the multifaceted nature of coaching.

Contrary to popular belief, a coach’s proficiency should not solely hinge on their industry background. In fact, excessive industry experience can inadvertently lead to biases and a rigid adherence to one’s own methods and practices. It is essential to recognize that every individual is unique, with distinct capacities, perspectives, and aspirations.

A truly exceptional coach transcends industry boundaries and delves into the core of individual growth and development. They possess the ability to understand you on a profound level, appreciating how you perceive and interact with your environment. Such a coach is equipped to facilitate your personal and professional evolution, tailoring their approach to your specific needs and objectives.

Conversely, mentors, often positioned as industry veterans, play a pivotal role in offering industry-specific guidance and wisdom. Their extensive experience and knowledge are invaluable for those seeking to navigate the intricacies of a particular field.

2) What is Psychological Coaching? How is it different from other coaching?

All coaches ask open ended questions and use certain techniques to help their clients achieve their goals. Their ability to question and use of the techniques is informed or influenced by either their own experience or they have been trained using one or more approaches or frameworks to guide their questioning and the coaching conversation. For example: NLP coaches. More a coach is trained with different approaches more it increases a coach’s capability to understand a client’s situation and experience and ask targeted questions to help their client’s achieve their objectives.

Psychological coaching focusses on:

Transformative and long-lasting effects: Psychological coaching focusses on coaching the person for deeper and transformative change which helps the coachee not only achieve the outcome but also learn and develop, have deeper insights for long lasting effects. A Psychological coach helps the person elevate their thinking to develop a capacity to open their minds to different perspectives making them confident in their abilities rather than just simply helping the person to solve the problem at hand which most of the other coaches do.

Approach: Coaching is about asking the right questions and using the right techniques to create insights and shift a coachee’s perspective, it depends on which approach or framework a coach is using to guide their questioning. Most coaches use one or two frameworks to guide their coaching questions and techniques. A psychological coach uses a combination of Psychological, Existential, Humanistic, Gestalt, Psycho-somatic, NLP, Neuroscience, Systems, approaches to inform their assessment of their client’s needs as well as to assess the moment-to-moment information emerging during the conversation.
Being informed by the combination of these approaches, a psychological coach understands the nuances of human experience better than other coaches. It enhances their capability to have very deep conversations and ask targeted questions during coaching sessions which helps a coachee create deep insights, elevate their learning and development resulting in achieving greater results as compared to working with other coaches.

Collaborative and relational orientation to coaching significantly effects the flow and outcome of the work between a coach and a coachee. Most of the other coaches focus on achieving the outcome but a psychological coach focus on relationship between the client and the coach as they understand that the coach-coachee relationship has a deep psychological impact on essential aspects for facilitating change. They focus on enhancing and strengthening the client’s ability to deliver the outcome.

3) How Does Coaching Work ?

Coaching is a collaborative and goal-oriented process in which a coach, working with an individual or a group to help them achieve personal and professional development objectives. Coaching is not about giving advice or solutions but rather about facilitating the client’s own insights, self-discovery, and action plans.

Here is an overview of how I work as a coach :

The coaching relationship usually begins with an initial meeting where  myself and the client establish a rapport, define the client’s goals, and clarify what they want to achieve through coaching. These goals can be related to personal growth, career advancement, skills development, work-life balance, leadership, or other areas.

In the first session, I help the client create a perceptual map of how they see themselves, their issues, and their environment to get the clarity around a client’s coaching objective. Once that clarity has been set, me and the client work together to create a structured plan as to which aspects or areas a client would like to work on to achieve that objective. Then in each session, the coach, and the client work on each of those areas and come to an agreement on the steps and strategies the client will take which will help them reach their goal. In each session, we work according to the client’s individual needs, wants, strengths, and challenges.
Coaching typically involves a series of regular sessions, usually ranging from weekly to monthly meetings. During these sessions, I engage in active listening, powerful questioning, and reflective dialogue with the client. I help the client explore their thoughts, emotions, and perspectives, encouraging deeper self-awareness.
I provide a supportive environment where clients can openly discuss their challenges, setbacks, and progress. I offer feedback, insights, alternative perspectives and reflective questions to help clients gain new insights and develop a clearer understanding of their situation.
Coaching emphasizes accountability. I hold the clients accountable for the actions they commit to in their action plan. This accountability helps clients stay focused, motivated, and on track towards their goals and it’s always a pleasure to celebrate their wins.
During the sessions, I work with clients to identify and address their limiting beliefs, self-doubt, and negative thought patterns that might hinder their progress. It helps clients reframe their thinking and develop a growth-oriented mindset.
The coaching process is adaptable and flexible. As the client’s needs, circumstances, and goals evolve, I adjust the coaching approach accordingly.
When the client feels they have achieved their desired outcomes or have made significant progress, the coaching relationship concludes. This often involves reflecting on the journey, the lessons learned, and the growth experienced.