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  • Justin Jacobs

What Coaching Is and Isn't

There is often confusion surrounding the definition of coaching and what it entails. Let's clarify some common misconceptions.


Coaching, whether it's life coaching, life design coaching, leadership coaching, or any other form, should not be equated with sports coaching. Sports coaching involves a combination of training, mentoring, leading, disciplining, providing encouragement, and ensuring accountability for individual athletes or teams.


It is a common mistake for people to assume that a life coach needs to possess comprehensive knowledge of a client's specific field (such as business, cybersecurity, or motherhood) in the same way a sports coach must be well-versed in their sport. Some believe that a life coach must have an extensive understanding of a client's work, profession, circumstances, and situation in order to effectively coach them towards their goals and address their concerns.



However, this belief is not accurate.


To provide clarity, let's outline what coaching is and what it is not.


What coaching IS:

  1. Goal-oriented: Coaching helps individuals set and achieve specific goals in various areas, such as career, relationships, personal growth, or health.

  2. Action-focused: Coaches help clients identify actionable steps and create plans to move forward, encouraging accountability and progress.

  3. Supportive: Coaching provides support, encouragement, and motivation to help clients overcome obstacles, build confidence, and stay focused on their goals.

  4. Empowering: Coaches empower clients by helping them gain clarity, explore possibilities, and tap into their strengths and potential.

  5. Client-centered: Coaching sessions are centered around the client's needs, values, and aspirations. Coaches actively listen, ask powerful questions, and provide guidance tailored to the individual.

  6. Results-oriented: Coaching aims to facilitate positive change and growth, focusing on achieving measurable outcomes and enhancing overall satisfaction.

  7. Non-judgmental: Coaches maintain a non-judgmental and accepting approach, creating a safe space for clients to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of criticism.

  8. Future-focused: While acknowledging the present, coaching primarily looks ahead and assists clients in creating a vision for their future and devising strategies to reach their desired outcomes.



What coaching is NOT:


  1. Therapy or counseling: Coaching differs from therapy or counseling, as it focuses on the present and future, rather than analyzing past experiences or treating mental health disorders. Coaches do not diagnose or provide clinical treatment.

  2. Consulting: Coaches do not give expert advice or provide specific solutions. Instead, they help clients uncover their own answers, insights, and strategies through thought-provoking conversations.

  3. Mentoring: While mentors draw upon their own experiences and expertise to guide others, coaching facilitates personal growth by empowering clients to explore their own wisdom and potential.

  4. Magical solution: Coaching is not a quick fix or a magical solution. It requires commitment, effort, and active participation from the client to achieve desired outcomes.

  5. Financial advice or therapy: Although coaches may discuss financial goals or beliefs, they are not licensed financial advisors or therapists specialized in financial matters.

  6. Rescuing or enabling: Coaches do not rescue clients from their challenges or enable dependent behavior. Instead, they empower individuals to take responsibility for their choices and actions.

  7. A substitute for personal responsibility: Coaching encourages personal accountability and responsibility. Coaches do not make decisions or take responsibility for the client's actions.


It's important to dispel the misconception that coaching is equivalent to sports coaching or that a life coach needs to be an expert in a specific field. Coaching, whether in life, leadership, or other domains, is a distinct practice focused on facilitating personal growth, goal achievement, and unlocking an individual's potential.


Coaches provide support, guidance, and accountability, helping clients gain clarity, explore possibilities, and take action. By understanding the true nature of coaching, we can better appreciate its unique value in empowering individuals to thrive and create meaningful changes in their lives.


As your coach, I will help you co-create the future that is right for you. You will do most of the work, but it will be worth it when you realize your are using your whole self to reach your full potential. You'll feel fulfilled, useful, and joyful living your best life.


Contact me today and let's have a chat.

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