...is not instruction
Many well-intentioned leaders think they are coaching, when in reality, they are instructing, sometimes even barking orders! Obviously, there are times when you need to tell someone how to do something, but the danger is telling someone who has some knowledge how to suck eggs!
...is not mentoring
Mentoring is an extremely valuable resource through our lives. Mentors tend to have experience and wisdom because they have been there and done that! They tend to listen well and sometimes offer advice or share their experience when they faced a similar situation. They can challenge you and dial you into their network for support.
The right Mentor is a valuable treasure. One to be honoured and embraced. Mentoring has elements of coaching, but does not always let the mentee find their own answers…
...is not guiding
A common trap in coaching is leading someone to an answer you already have in your own head. This is often apparent when the coach uses leading or suggestive questioning. Of course, guiding is necessary at times and can be delivered with great compassion to build someone’s confidence. Delivered as coaching can cause a subconscious internal conflict for the coachee. Lookout!
...is questioning and listening
Masterful coaching listens and observes both the coachee and themselves. They ask probing, curious questions that encourage the coachee to explore their own possibilities, enabling them to think out loud and rationalize their own answers to their own problems or opportunities. The masterful coach is aware of their own judgements and biases and realizes when their own inner voice starts trying to solve the coachees problem (you all know what I mean!). This awareness allows them to be fully present in the coachees experience and support the confidence in their own problem-solving ability.