According to research by International Coach Federation (ICF) from 2014 tried on 18,810 individuals representing the 25 countries with the highest populations of ICF, more men tried coaching than women, although half of the women who have not been coached yet were to consider coaching in the future.
Among all respondents who had participated in a coach relationship, the No. 1 reason for seeking coaching was to optimize individual/team work performance (42 %), followed by expanding career opportunities (33 %), increasing self-esteem/self-confidence (31 %), improving business management strategies (29 %) and managing work/life balance (27 %). Men were more likely than women to receive coaching to expand professional opportunities, while women were more likely than men to seek coaching in service of improving work/life balance.
Coaching targets progress, progress comes through self-improvement and that requires accountability. Being accountable only to ourselves is doable, although it is a skill which has to be learned first and then mastered for us to manage our commitment well. Starting with self-accountability without having previously mastered it is much more risky than having an accountability partner. On top of that, progress is achieved by an ability to look at things from a different than our usual, often limiting, perspective and accessing efficient solutions from there, which also is a skill to learn. A Coach enables this by pointing us in the direction to see a new perspective we can't seem to see ourselves.
The same way we are able to support our loved ones in circumstances where they feel stuck as the gravity of the issue plus an emotional attachment to the problem is covering their full vision. We see the same problem from a different perspective and therefore help to provide a new outlook. The Coach does something similar for their clients by using the ''coaching dialogue method'' of asking specific questions that encourage client's reflection, forming new insights and reaching solutions. This is why even the most successful master coaches naturally need someone else to be their guide.
The uniqueness of this approach clearly differentiates it from psychotherapy, counselling or consulting which all have a common objective, but use a very different approach and techniques to achieve it.
Therapy and Counselling whose main focus lies in accessing the past, are provided only by licensed health/ mental health professionals with previous experience and qualifications. They deal with patient's mental and emotional conditions, past circumstances including trauma, engage in patient diagnosis and give medical advice.
Coaching, which doesn't require a specific qualification, is future and action oriented to encourage client's self-reflection, decision marking and planning and to drive progress. The past is only used as a reflection tool to help determine future goals. Coaches do not treat or counsel those with mental illness and must not provide medical advice or engage in patient diagnosis. They are obliged to refer clients in need of mental or physical health therapy to an appropriate licensed professional.
Consulting drives client's progress by an expert advice to follow based on a high level of consultant's knowledge and expertise in a professional or technical field. Coaches do not give advice, they guide clients to finding the most suitable answers and solutions for themselves.
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