Updated: Mar 30
Let me distinguish between several terms that cause some confusion these days. These are my definitions, but I would ask any coach you speak with to provide his or her definition as part of your vetting process.
Counselor/therapist – Someone who takes a look at your past to uncover anything that is blocking you from moving forward.
Consultant – Someone assesses you and your organization then tells you what you need to do.
Coach – Someone who asks where you are and where you want to go then coaches to that gap. While there may be an occasional glance back at your past, this is primarily forward looking. A counselor can be added if something keeps coming up during a coaching engagement.
There are many different types of coaches in the marketplace today. Each tends to have their own niche but here are a few overall categories to consider when assessing your needs:
Life Coach – This is a rather loose term that applies to a variety of coaches who love helping people and want to use their life experience to help others.
Health & Wellness Coach – This person could work in a gym or be an instructor/accountability partner with your exercise and nutrition program.
Career Coach – Specialties in this area can include resume writing, interviewing, career changes, advancement strategies and goal-setting to name a few.
Business Coach – This can vary based upon the industry but generally centers around helping with ways to structure and run your business.
Executive Coach – These coaches use assessments to increase self-awareness and create a plan to build upon strengths and minimize weaknesses. Some use a process while others tailor each engagement as it goes along.
Retirement/Second Half Coach – This area of coaching helps clients think about life once the first career ends. This goes beyond financial concerns and addresses activity that brings more meaning and purpose.
Sales Coach – Sales is tough mentally and working with a coach can improve perspective and performance as a result. A coach in this area can help improve sales skills and develop sales strategies to be more efficient and effective.
There are plenty more coaches out there for pretty much anything you can imagine but these are the main categories. Any search engine can help you find a sub-specialty to fit your needs.