“Aren’t they the same thing?” she replied.
No. They aren’t.
Coaching—or what you might know as Life, Business, Executive, or Leadership Coaching—has been around for about 30 years now. Although many people understand generally what it is, there are still some misconceptions out there. So what’s the difference between getting advice and getting coached?
The main difference is this: it’s not a coach’s job to give advice. No coach is smart enough or has the depth and breadth of knowledge to give perfect advice all the time. Truth is, most people don’t want advice. Even when the person being coached says “Tell me what you think I should do,” nobody really wants to be told what to do.
What most people really benefit from is a conversation to determine what the goal really is. This can sometimes be the hardest thing to clarify. From there, they need a discussion about possibilities, obstacles, what options make the most sense, and what kind of support they need to accomplish the steps they have decided to take.
Advice is simply that. Any sentence that starts with “You should…,” “I would…,” or “Why don’t you…” is advice. And you can bet cold hard cash that in most cases, anything following those words will not be heard or heeded.
The beauty of coaching is that it uncovers what people already know in their hearts but maybe just needed a little digging to get to. Giving advice is easy—in fact, I do it all day long for free. Coaching requires skill and practice, and that’s why people pay for it.
About the Author
Madeleine Blanchard is the co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.