Coaching, Metaphorically Speaking

Let’s say you wanted to learn to drive a car. If you hired a:

Therapist, the therapist would help you find out what might be holding you back from driving the car. He would delve into your past to discover what kinds of experience you have had with automobiles.

Consultant, the consultant would bring you an owner’s manual and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the workings of a car. The consultant would then leave you. She might return six months later to see how you had managed the actual driving part.

Mentor, the mentor would share her experiences of driving cars and the wisdom and lessons she had learned in her more rich experience with the matter.

Coach, the coach would seat you in the car, place himself in the passenger seat, and teach you key life skills and emotional regulation, encourage and support you, and hold you accountable to your goals until you felt comfortable enough to go it alone.

There are many versions of this coaching metaphor. This is a link to the rest of the above article comparing coaching and other professional services.