New clients sometimes ask me to explain the difference between coaching, consulting, and therapy. To answer, I borrow the following metaphor from the Co-Active Training Institute.
Let's say that you decide that you really want to learn how to ride a bike - and you decide to ask a therapist, a consultant, and a coach for help.
Now, I'm not a therapist, and I can't speak from that perspective. But I've been in therapy multiple times in my life (with great benefit). In my experience, working with a therapist might include activities like exploring my past association with bikes and bike riding, what feelings I have about bikes, and what might have caused those feelings.
I am a consultant for nonprofits on management, leadership and governance issues, and so I can speak about my take on that perspective. With my consultant hat on, I would reassure you that I am an expert on bike riding, would ride around you on the bike to show it to you, have you read my paper on bike riding best practices, and I would provide you with a list of recommendations to implement for how you should ride the bike.
And finally, if I am serving as your coach, I would have you get on the bike yourself, walk beside you as you learn to ride, ask you questions that allow you to become aware of the skills you have and are developing in riding the bike, champion you as you ride, and celebrate you as you ride away. As your coach, I would stand firmly in my belief that you are naturally and inherently capable of riding the bike - even in the tough moments when you are a bit wobbly and moving the pedals feels awkward. I would challenge you to stay in the saddle and keep moving even when change and new learning feels risky. And I would never lose sight of the fact that riding the bike is just one part of you living the most fulfilling, satisfying life possible - whatever that means to you.
So, my friend - are you ready start riding?