What is coaching?

Nymans, National Trust

There are few better remedies for anxiety than thought. In writing a problem down or airing it in conversation, we let its essential aspects emerge. And, by knowing its character, we remove, if not the problem itself, then its secondary, aggravating characteristics of confusion, displacement and surprise (Epicurus)

We learn by rearranging what we know into a more meaningful configuration (Schopenhauer)

People often ask me how coaching differs from counselling or psychotherapy. There are grey areas, but I find these definitions helpful:

Coaching: focussed conversation to support the achievement of personal or professional goals, dealing with specific issues, conflicts or dilemmas

Counselling: guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems

Psychotherapy: treatment intended to relieve or heal mental illness or deeply rooted emotional problems

Psychiatry: study and medical treatment of mental illness, emotional disturbance and abnormal behaviour

(quotes from ‘Core Coaching’, Sheridan Maguire, DSC, 2008)