I hear a lot of people call themselves coach’s, in fact, up until a couple of years ago, I labeled myself as a “Coach” as well.  Then I learned the inside and out of coaching, and realized that, during my sessions with my clients, that in fact, I am operating outside of the coaching process, which means that I am no longer just coaching my client, I am offering advice or helping to build out strategic personal development or business plans. 

Now, when someone inquires about me becoming their Coach, I ask them exactly what is it that they are looking for?  Based on their needs, they are usually looking for advice and guidance, so I become their Consultant.  I rarely do strictly coaching or just mentoring. 

What’s the difference? 

Coach – Really wants to know all about the you and your dreams, so they listen more than anything and hold you accountable for your dreams. A Coach helps the entire person, not just the dream, but the whole being.  A Coach listens to both, what you do and don’t say, and helps you break free from the limiting beliefs that are in between you and your dreams.  

A Coach, asks the right questions, that causes you to use both your conscious and subconscious mind, to help you create new beliefs that serves you and your dream.  Your Coach will help you learn from your own experiences through reflection and insightful questioning.   

A Coach knows that God has already placed the answers on the inside of you, and that you don’t need to look outside of yourself for the answers. A Coach’s role is to make you aware that you have the answers and to help you find the answers from within. 

There is a coaching process. A Coach never offers advice or tells what to do next.  In a coaching session, 98.9% of the time the coaching client does the talking, the Coach provides input as a last resort, and then, the Coach ask for permission to share a story from a prior experience.  The purpose of the sharing is to get the participant to think more into the question or solution. 

The moment a Coach provides an opinion, input or incite, the Coach has stepped outside of the coaching processing and it is no longer coaching. When ending the coaching session, the coaching participant comes up with the action items for the next meeting. Coaching is a skill, that does not focus on one area, like business, life, health, but focuses on the entire you. 

I was working with a client a while ago, she asked me what would I do in a certain situation. I told her it doesn’t matter what I would do, what matters most is what she is going to do.  At that moment, she said, “Monica I do not know what to do, that is why I am coming to you”.  At that moment, I realized, the help she was wanting was not just from the coaching process, but from a Mentor as well. 

Mentor – Leads from their experience by sharing, and usually gives you advice, helps you maneuver through obstacles based on what they know and have gone through.  A Mentor may be able to tell you what may come up in your journey that you should plan for and help you figure out what resources you’ll need.  

The Mentor is usually answering questions, being a guide and advisor. The participant comes to the session with questions for the mentor, and obstacles or challenges they have faced.  A lot of times, mentors specialize or focus on one area, such as life, mindset, finance, health or spiritual growth. Mentors may also help you focus on an area, such as using time effectively, work/life alignment, emotional management, self management, mind mapping, etc. Or, you may also seek a Mentor based on a role, you want to become a CEO or Realtor so, you’ll find a CEO or Realtor to mentor you. 

I remember my first Mentor, 16 years ago, her name is Cynthia.  We would meet every two weeks in her office.  I walked in with my questions for the current session, the action I’d taken since our last meeting and the obstacles or challenges I faced.  When I left our session, I had my next set of action steps to take. 

Thinking Partner – Helps you think through an idea. A Thinking Partner may give you a different perspective and help you expand on the thought. If you’ve ever called someone and said, “Let me pick your brain”, you’re probably looking for someone to listen to your idea and help you work through it. 

Usually with a Thinking Partner, you typically only need a 2 -4 hour or a day long session. From my experience, Thinking Partners are usually called upon when needed and not necessarily ongoing. 

Consultant – Helps you with your goals and dreams.  A Consultant may help you with your personal or business plans, and help to write out the step by step action plan you need to put in place. 

I have some clients where we setup a three hour session to plan out the current goal or dream, this session is very thorough, we actually put every step they must take to reach their goal. It’s really a thorough planning session. They walk away knowing exactly what they need to do, to get from where they are to where they want to be. The clients that I’ve worked with, follow through on the plans and meet again when they’re ready to achieve a new goal. 

As a Consultant, in my business, I blend coaching, mentoring and planning. I use the different methods based on the clients needs, based on the moment. It’s very normal for me to go between the three techniques during a session.

TIME: With Coaching and Mentoring partnerships, there’s usually a period of time to enter into the partnership.  Coaching agreements are usually something like 6 months to one year agreements at a time.  Mentoring partnerships are usually longer, maybe a year or longer.  With the Thinking Partnership, it’s usually for a shorter period of time and an as needed basis. And lastly, with the Consultant Partnership, it’s usually like the Coaching or Mentoring, 6 month to year agreement. 

Formal or Informal:  Coaching has a structured formal process, mentoring and consultant is more informal. 

Partnership: In any of the partnerships, the participant has to show up, the coach, mentor and consultant must also show up.  The participant must do what they said they’re going to do. The end of the session, no matter the type, the participant agrees to take action on the plans.  The Coach, Mentor, Thinking Partner or Consultant is responsible to help drive the participant to their desired results. The participant IS responsible for getting the results. 

 Think about this: Because Coaching takes a special skill and process, you have to be trained to do such a thing. When you go through real certified coaching training, it’s not life coaching, it’s not business coaching, it’s coaching. Life, Mindset, or Business coaching (mentoring) may be what you specialize in, but there is no BOARD Certification for Life or Business Coaching certification, it’s Coaching. No matter what my specialty is, if I’m a coach, then, I’m a coach, and I am highly trained to use the coaching process which is designed to to be able to help you move towards what you desire, period. 

Not Teaching or Facilitating – Coaching, Mentoring or Thinking Partner is not teaching.  When we teach or facilitate training, we are doing most of the talking, we are usually making a point, we are attempting to possibly motivate or inspire, others with our story or by sharing our methods.  With teaching and facilitating training, we say, this is how this works, apply this, do this, and we have the stories to go behind all of the points we’re making. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, we can be mentored through books, online training, Facebook communities, memberships, etc. I am not talking about those methods of “help” me get to my goal, what I am specifically talking about is entering into a One-on-One Partnership to help you reach your potential. Trading time for time and/or money to help you grow. 

Example of how a session may go based on what time of partner you pick: 

Coach, I want to start a business

  • How long have you wanted to start a business
  • Why do you want to start a business
  • What are the impacts of you starting a business
  • What are somethings you can do to move you towards starting your business

Mentor, I want to start a business

  • What kind of business
  • When do you want to start
  • Here are some things to look for
  • Here’s how I accomplished that
  • Let’s map it out
  • The first thing to do is ….
  • The second thing is
  • Do, x, y and z before our next meeting

Thinking Partner, I want to start a business

  • What kind of business
  • When do you want to start
  • Did you think about providing a daycare service while the moms are having lunch
  • Did you think about …
  • Did you think about starting a blog

 Consultant, I want to start a business

  • A mixture of the Coaching, Mentoring and Thinking Partner

 Do I Need A Coach?

The answer is no, you do not necessarily need a Coach, however, you do need someone to help you navigate through life, someone who you can be accountable to, that is skilled to help you reach your potential.  This person should be a Coach or a Mentor or a combination, but you do need someone. Seeing how a Thinking Partner is such a short term, a Thinking Partner may be enough, no matter what, make sure you are growing and expanding who you are in any of the partnerships. 

When deciding on which partnership you want, consider the following

1. Know what you re looking for, are you looking for someone: 

  • to help you get over limiting beliefs
  • to help you reach a goal and give advice
  • that has experience in a particular area
  • to help you think through an idea
  • that blends the three

 2. Ask them what their partnership style and method is – you want to make sure it’s in alignment with what you are looking for.

3. Make sure you’re a match for each other. Your energy must be in harmony (I’ll do a blog on this another day). You want to make sure the sessions are going to flow with just positive vibes to get the most out of the time together. 

4. Ask them if your potential partner if they have a Coach or Mentor, my philosophy is this, one, a Coach or Mentor needs to have someone that is continually helping them grow, or you may outgrow them, and two, why would I invest in someone like you, if you wouldn’t do the same. Why would I hire you to be my coach or mentor if you don’t invest in one for yourself? Practice what you preach. 

4. Be coachable and mentee-able.  Make sure you are willing and able to commit to the partnership for the amount of time agreed upon. If you are not willing or not able to commit, then don’t waste your time or theirs. I’ve had experience where I entered into partnerships, and as I was providing incite and ways to help, the participant, or I should say the person, clearly they weren’t participating, would tell me they are already doing it, or would give me a reason why they couldn’t. In which case, showed me that they were not willing to take action on my suggestion. And, most of the time my suggestions came from observations on current behaviors that I picked up on. 

Believe that whatever you choose, whatever you need, as long as you are willing and have formed the partnership with the right person, you’ll be driven to get the results you are looking for. 

Parents Sidebar:

I wear more of the Coach’s hat than the mom hat.  For the longest, my kid would call me mean.  Finally, one day I was picking her up from school, 3rd grade, and I was “telling” her what she needed to do when we got home. She called mean, for the last time, I finally got it.  She called me mean when I was telling her what to do.  The first thing I did was call her out on it, “I notice you call me mean when I tell you what to do, is that true”. Her response was, “yes”.  I replied, “Well, since you don’t like for me to tell you what to do, you know what you need to do, so from now on, you tell me what you have to do and when are you going to do it.”  She immediately responded with, “I’m going to go in and play for a while, eat, then do my homework at 7 pm and get my bath at 9”. That was the turning point in my parenting style.  Now, at the age of 14, when she has questions or want help making a decision, I very rarely have input, I ask a series of questions until she comes to her own decision. If the decision is not going to harm her either way, I let her decide on her own.  Even, when it comes to picking friends, I take her down the *quality and characteristics worksheet, and she decides who she should be close friends with and not. *I’ll do a blog on this another day.

To acquire about my Consulting practice, email me at: monica@monicaMmadden.com and I’ll be happy to guide in the direction you want to go, even if that means recommending you to other highly qualified and skilled Coaches, Mentors or Consultants that may be the best fit for you. 

Wishing You Many Blessings!