What Exactly Is Coaching?

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At its simplest, coaching is a discovery -based process offering clients the lead role in finding their own creative solutions. Working with a coach is a unique opportunity to unpack your thinking around a challenge, clarify the obstacles and choices, and discover new possibilities for action. The coach “midwifes” these client -directed solutions and holds the client accountable.

The most typical outcome of a coaching conversation is insight – that incredible burst in your brain of Aha! It is the moment when your brain segues from confusion and frustration to seeing a way forward, and is fertile ground for creating actionable goals.

Being a relatively new kid on the block (coming of age in the early ‘90s), there is confusion as to how coaching differs from other modalities in the support profession. Coaching is distinctly different from counseling or psychotherapy, consulting, mentoring, and training. To dispel one of the more common misconceptions, master coach, psychologist and author Dr. Patrick Williams says, “Therapy is about recovering and uncovering, while coaching is about discovering.”

To clear up the confusion, let’s take a closer look at each of these modalities and imagine for the moment that I’m wearing the different hats.

“I dwell in Possibility.”
— Emily Dickinson

As a counselor, I would guide you on a long, detailed look back over your life. We would spend time analyzing people and events from your past with the intention of healing old wounds and current dysfunction. There would be extensive analysis of feelings, both past and present. We would be digging deep with the ultimate goal of restoring wholeness and moving you forward in your life.

As a consultant, I would look to reform and improve your processes. I have the answers and you are paying me to tell you what to do. For example, I would identify the broken places in your workflow and instruct you, specifically, on how and where to make the necessary changes. I would be seen as the expert and, as such, my recommendations would be implemented.

As a mentor, I would take you under my wing. I would be modeling for you, much as a parent does for a child, showing you how the world works. I would share my personal experience and teach you the ropes. I would impart my extensive knowledge and expertise in a particular line of work or craft and you would strive to emulate me.

As a trainer, I would teach you a particular curriculum with specific learning objectives and key messages. I possess knowledge you don’t, and I am here to train you in a new product, service or process that will enhance your skills and add to your fund of knowledge.

As a coach, I am an awareness raiser, thinking partner and catalyst for change. As the coaching client, you are considered to be creative, resourceful and whole. You contain all your own answers and are the expert in your life. I hold the space for you to discover your own answers, primarily by active and intuitive listening and by asking powerful questions – questions that are expansive and open -ended, inviting introspection and action.

Coaching conversations dwell in thinking, vision and planning and steer clear of details, problems and drama. The coach is an objective awareness -raiser who inspires you to shift your perspective, championing new behaviors and actions. Together we create a strong, solutions -focused alliance.

Think of a coach as your travel guide to insights on the path of transformation.


“Cathia’s coaching has been invaluable. She has helped me reflect on who I am as a leader and what is most important to me and the company. The self-awareness I have gained has sustained me as a leader dealing with major change, and her encouragement for me to stay true to myself has given me a renewed sense of enthusiasm.”

Book a complimentary consultation or invite Cathia to speak at your next event.



“Cathia’s coaching has been a vital part of my executive career. She is engaging and personal, and she challenges me both as a leader and a person. Cathia has coached me through major life and work challenges causing me to grow in areas that could have remained unchanged. Her coaching sessions feel like an espresso shot of courage and strength.”