Although coaching is beginning to gain some momentum in the nonprofit field, most nonprofit professionals don't understand what coaching is or how it can be of value to them in their personal or professional life. Also, individuals often confuse coaching with therapy, counseling, or consulting. The following article provides information describing the difference between therapists, counselors, consultants, and coaches, and how coaches work with their clients to resolve issues, achieve goals, or makes significant changes in their lives.

Therapists work with clients who need professional help to work towards healing, recovery, and issue resolution. They are experts in medical and behavioral sciences, trained to treat diagnosable conditions. They are required to keep their personal feelings and thoughts removed from the process.

Counseling is generally considered to include assessment and treatment of emotional difficulties displayed by individuals or couples. The process could include setting goals, planning action, changing behavior, and generally assisting the individual or couple to improve their functioning within their environment.

Consultants advise their clients about how to solve problems. They are focused on results. They are hired to produce a certain outcome.

Coaches work with individuals who are motivated to change, and are willing to move forward regardless of their past. They partner with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential; they focus on the client taking action toward the realization of their visions, goals or desires; and they use a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the client’s level of awareness and responsibility, and provides the client with structure, support and feedback. The coaching process helps the client both define and achieve professional and personal goals faster, and with more ease and fewer struggles, than would be possible otherwise.

Coaches listen deeply, provide support, and encourage clients to be the best they can be; to reach their highest potential. They do this through helping clients to identify or clarify the real issue; identify and address all obstacles and barriers standing in their path; develop individualized strategies and solutions to address the issue; develop a plan of action with goals and specific objectives; and hold the client accountable to follow through on their plan of action.

There are many types of coaches including, but not limited to, life/personal, empowerment, executive, business, spiritual, and health coaches. For example, I am a certified executive and life coach. As an executive coach, I partner with nonprofit executive directors and managers to maximize their resources in a competitive environment. Having been a former executive director of three nonprofit organizations, I definitely understand the issues and challenges that nonprofit executives face on a daily basis. As a life coach, I work with all professionals who are interested in creating positive changes in their lives.

So, if there is a professional or personal issue you are struggling with and haven't been able to resolve, or you have a goal in mind that you’d like to achieve but you continue to put it on the back shelf, or you would like to make a significant change in your life but feel stuck and don't know how to go about it, a coach can help. Contact a coach today!

Copyright 2010 © Sharon L. Mikrut, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

If you want to make positive changes in your professional life, and create the job or career you desire and deserve, then working with Executive & Life Coach, Sharon L. Mikrut, is the solution. Although her specialty is in partnering with nonprofit executive directors and managers to maximize their resources in a competitive environment, she is passionate about working with all individuals committed to personal and/or professional growth. Visit her website at or Nonprofit Professionals blog at, and sign up for her free monthly newsletter that provides information and resources designed to help you manage your nonprofit organization in a more effective and efficient manner. You can also visit her Empowerment blog at, and sign up for her free monthly life coaching newsletter.