Coaching is about a client’s goals. In coaching sessions, clients explore what they want to accomplish and plan how to make it happen. This is different from mental health in that the coach does not spend time working with the client to resolve past issues. It is different from consulting because the coach is not analyzing the client and then providing a recommended plan of action. The coach is listening to the client, asking questions, and empowering the client to explore possibilities and process options.
When a client begins thinking about their goals, it often starts with identifying what they do not like in their current situation. The focus of the thinking is on the problem. A coach works with the client to focus on solutions and on what they want to achieve in the future.
A client might define a goal in terms of what they do not want. For example, a client might not want to be stressed. If the goal is to “not be stressed” then the focus is on the stress. The trained coach asks the client, “When you are not stressed, what are you?” The client might say they are relaxed or calm; when the client describes what they will be, the coach says, “So the goal is to be calm.” The focus is now forward on what the client does want.
The nuances of the words influence how the mind hears, processes, decides, and acts. A coach is trained to work with the client to create the forward focus so that the client achieves more easily.