Coaching in the News

View from an airplane window at the wings and flying over a scenic landscape of green hills and rivers

How nice to see the cover story (and cover art!) of the magazine insert in my local newspaper be about coaching this morning! Check out the article: Coaching Versus Therapy: Two Ways to Go when Life Gets You Down. It’s a good, easy, and informative read.

I love the questions and statements integrated into the cover art (cannot find a picture of it online):

  • If your life could look the way you’d really like it to look, what would it look like?
  • In psychology we’ve been taught to metabolize pain and recover from grief but we have not been taught how to harness joy
  • How can you BE your very BEST self?
  • What do you want to be?
  • What’s my vision?
  • Positive psychology isn’t about happy talk
  • Therapists follow the trail of tears and coaches follow the trail of dreams
  • Therapy is something very sacred and powerful. Coaching is something else. Coaching is a different process of change
  • How can we be pulled by our future as much as we are driven by our past?

I do resist the describing of coaching juxtaposed to therapy. Describing what something is by describing what it is not is pretty weak. The similarities between the two are really in the mechanics: a person listens, a person (or persons) talks. But they do entirely different things for the client. Similarly, I often hear coaching described in comparison to consulting. Again, how do you describe what something is by describing what it is not? Coaching and consulting do have many shared characteristics and they are completely different (really!). I have probably fallen into this trap myself–describing coaching in terms of how it is similar or different to therapy or consulting–and I will strive not to in the future.

Coaching is…a relationship between a trained* and certified* coach (or coaches!) and an individual, a partnership, or a team. Often the coach will have a specialty area of expertise; mine is leaders of non-profit organizations and philanthropists. Coaching can take place in person or by phone or video-conference. Regular appointments are scheduled, typically a couple meetings per month. Coaches are very active in the relationship. Sometimes they will simply (actively) listen but and more often, they ask useful questions that take the client to the conclusion/resolution/action they seek. Coaches will push the client. Coaches will work with the client toward goal setting and accountability. There are as many styles of coaches as there are coaches! Coaches coach.

Coaching, therapy, and consulting–three different things! If therapy seems right for you, hire a therapist. If consulting seems right for you, hire a consultant. If coaching seems right for you, hire a coach. And if you would like to give coaching a try, give me a call.

I am getting ready for my week. Off to races. Into the battle. Ready to be patient. Ready to smile and be kind. Ready to complete forms, write checks, gather and present papers. Ready to manage my frustration and celebrate the moments of surprise. And all the while I am going to observe the systems I encounter. Will you join me?

*We coaches actually go to school to do this work! We attend hundreds of hours of coaching classes through accredited coaching programs. We take oral and written examinations, are extensively reviewed by master coaches and peers, and commit to ongoing education and training. We, who are members of the International Coach Federation, subscribe to the highest ethical standards in the industry. There is a qualitative difference between a trained and certified coach and someone who has worked hard in their field and says they do coaching (usually to peers or coleagues).


Meet Gary Groth. Experience a coaching session. Get your questions answered. Let’s see what we can create together!

Gary M. Groth, MS, PCC, CPCC

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