What Coaching Is – and What It Isn’t

Apr 29, 2023
We all have an idea of a coach - this might be from a sporting perspective, or maybe from going through business or career coaching at work. The term varies by location and field - for example, followers of US sports will recognise reverential use of the title "coach" at all levels, while we in the UK might see a "manager" in a football team. We know what they do - they get the best out of the people in their team. Move away from sport though, and various myths and suspicions appear about some forms of "coaching".
In this blog I want to tell you a little bit about what we do here at Mightify, as well as what we don't do - that's the simplest way to explain what we mean by "coaching" and hopefully debunk a few myths along the way.
We also recognise that the emergency services and uniformed roles in general tend to be founded culturally more on “training” than coaching, which can create a reluctance to invest in coaching, which can be perceived as somehow less essential or even dismissed as “fluffy” or “soft”. This is changing fast as the coaching industry explodes in size and popularity – which also brings another key question into play: how do I choose a coach when there are so many around?
This blog will tell you a little more about our philosophy, which we hope will help you decide if we are the best partner for your journey. We hope so!
Principles we work to:
1. It's about you, not us. No-one knows your hopes and fears, dreams and challenges better than you - so we listen to you and understand your unique situation.
2. It's not about teaching or giving advice. Yes, we'll use our own experiences, but we won't tell you what to do - we'll help you work it out for yourself so that you see lasting change that comes from you. We are not trying to make you dependent on us.
3. We want to achieve a positive outcome. We create a relaxed atmosphere and give you plenty of space to explore things, but that doesn't mean it's an aimless chat - we're also here to hold you accountable and move towards your goals. We will provide challenge from a place of love and care.
4. You won't be judged, and we won't think you're broken and need fixing. Whatever you're experiencing means you aren't reaching your potential right now - it doesn't mean you never will. Our role is to accept what has been, and build what could yet be.
5. There's nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed about. We all encounter a lot of pressure in life to be "strong" and not show emotion or vulnerability, but it doesn't have to be this way. Coaching sessions are of course entirely confidential, but shouldn't it be a good thing to be investing in your health, happiness and success?
Coaching is not a regulated industry in the UK, which means anyone can use the title. What we bring also includes deep investment and constant learning in our own coaching qualifications and tools – we seek out best practices and proven methods that we know work and are ethical. We are always happy to tell you about the methods, philosophies and systems we use.
Coaching vs Training vs Mentoring
This is a debate that could go on forever, and the three fields overlap, but here is my take on the fundamental differences and when you might want to draw on each.
Coaching: as detailed above, a coach is primarily there to help you find your path. In the purest sense, a coach wouldn’t need to know or understand the subject matter at hand, because their role is to ask the right questions, hold the space and reflect – as well as provide accountability.
Training: this is a more transactional relationship where the trainer/teacher has the knowledge on a specific method or subject area and transfers that knowledge to a student. Most people with a uniformed services background have only really been exposed to this approach, whether it’s in a classroom or online.
Mentoring: many organisations offer mentoring schemes but call them a coaching programme. A mentor is someone who has already walked the path you want to follow, and can share their experiences, connections, and insights. A good mentor will also bring coaching skills to the relationship, but this is based fundamentally on having “been there and done it”.
What we do brings elements of all these together, because we know that there is always a point where we want to harness the reflection and introspection into action. For example, if we can make an introduction, or suggest a system to use in your business start-up, or we happen to have worked with a particular firm, we may be acting more as trainers or mentors. The key point is the overarching coaching ethos which places your success and fulfilment at the heart of everything we do.
A coach supports and empowers you to get where you want to go - not quick fixes but lasting, sustainable growth. If you think that's something worth investing in, get in touch with this and start your journey by booking a session or signing up for our next 30-day challenge.


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