What is Coaching and How Does it Differ From Other Helping Modalities?

Before undergoing my coach training, my view of a coach is limited to a sports and fitness coach and that what they do is to help you train and win (and for the other side to lose, if you are in a competition). Their emphasis is for you to do your best through rigorous training and discipline. They give you motivation and help you to be better at what you are trying to accomplish.

The “coaching” I’m doing now is really not so different except the focus is for everyone that is involved to win.

There are other helping modalities which we are more familiar with so I’m going to define coaching through comparison.

By the end of this article, I hope to give you a clear understanding of what coaching is and how it can help you.


A quick google search defines this as a treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder. It means to fix something that is broken such as issues, problems, feelings, and beliefs.

Some conditions are addiction (to anything) and mental illnesses. Coaches do not work with mental illnesses, do not dwell on client’s problems, issues, and their past. Coaches do use past experiences as a learning and growing tool and see problems as an opportunity.

In summary, therapists help the client figure out the “why” while the coach helps the client figure out the “how”.


Mentors are synonymous to role-models. They are experienced and trusted advisers.

Mentors are experts in their fields and are the source of wisdom, teaching, and support. Mentor and mentee relationship is based on mutual trust and respect.

Coaches are same with mentors in a way that they are expert in the coaching process but coaches believe that the client is the only expert in their lives. In that way, the coach cannot use his or her personal experiences as a pattern of success for the client.


Consultants give expert advice to people or organization in a professional or technical field. They have the answers and they have an agenda (to help people solve problems and challenges through their expertise).

Coaches, on the other hand, doesn’t have an agenda except to help clients get what he or she wants and do what the client says they will do. Coaches also do not have the answer and they believe that since the client is the expert in their lives, they have all the answers.


Trainers teach a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction and could be a one-time event. The goal of a trainer is for the client to gain knowledge and expertise.

Much like training, the goal of coaching is to help the client get clarity, knowledge about themselves and unlock the client’s innate potential through powerful questioning.

Coaches partner with clients on short or long term depending on the client’s need and agenda.


Also, called “talking therapies”. Counselors allow the client to discuss their problems and any difficult feelings they are encountering in a safe and confidential environment. The counselor may then look to create a plan of action to help client reconcile with issues or find ways to cope.

Coaching also allows a safe and confidential environment for the clients for them to explore their issues and concerns but what happens after that whether the clients wants to have an action plan or not depends on the client.

Sports Coaching

Professional coaching does have its roots in sports coaching wherein most situations are competition and is more about winning and losing. Professional coaching is not based on competition nor a win-lose scenario.

Coaches try to bring out the client’s best but not for the purpose of besting someone else. Coaches help clients think and create win-win scenarios for all involved.


It is a relationship between friends. Almost all of us have friends, best-friends, BFFs who most likely are our go-to people whenever we have problems and whenever we are sad or happy.

Sometimes, we open up to them more than we do with our parents and relatives. They are our source of confidence and advice. They are, most of the time, more than happy to tell us what to do and might be judgmental at times.

Coaches do not give advice and will not tell the client what to do. Coaching collaborates with clients on what they want to do by being objective and nonjudgmental.

In Summary

There are other helping modalities aside from the ones I’ve mentioned above but if we are to look at all of these, the common denominator is to always make the client become better than what they used to be. The main differences are how they do it and the goal they are aiming for.

To sum up, what coaching means, coaching is a collaborative partnership between the coach and the client wherein the client can explore their goals, issues, and concerns in a safe and confidential environment so that they can think and create win-win scenarios for all involved.

If this is something that resonates with you and you want to learn more, I offer complimentary session so you can get a feel for what coaching is and how it can help you.

How do you think coaching can help you?