Coaching vs Counseling

What’s the difference? Counseling is conferring with, having a conversation with someone, often in order to find out why the activity is not being accomplished. Coaching is teaching someone how to do a task. This is different than if you are hired as a coach where you work long term with someone.

Counseling is conferring with someone to make her understand what the results will be if she continues to do things improperly, and make you both aware of what the problems are. You have to check for progress, and can’t think you will speak to that person and never have another session. It’s a complete system.

Everyone has a “hot button” and it’s your job to find out what it is. It could be money, security, growth, education, benefits, location, recognition or challenge. Since everyone is an individual, it’s difficult to keep track of what turns each person on. But the most effective coaches do it and so can you. Know who to pat on the back, who to constructively critique, and who to leave alone.

The trick is to remember that all the different personalities you have working for you are just like a team. Your job is to get them working towards a common goal. You must give primary consideration to setting those goals we keep talking about. Are they clear in your mind? Are they worth striving for? Are they dollar driven or do they involve a greater good?

Perhaps most important, were they determined as a team, for the betterment of the organization and everyone in it, or were they set by a single individual and passed down as a commandment to be accomplished with no questions asked?

Most people show up knowing there are certain objectives to be performed. To them, it means being on time, completing assigned tasks and being courteous and conscientious (although that might be a stretch for some). However, are they motivated to go the extra distance that makes the difference between mediocrity and excellence?

And how do we get there ourselves while still providing the necessary stimulating atmosphere to those around us? Be careful that you don’t find yourself doing your employee’s job. You should be making sure that everything is running smoothly. When people report to you with accomplishments, evaluate them and then counsel them as to their next step which they can then take.