frequently asked questions

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What is the difference between Executive Coaching and Life Coaching?

The main difference between life coaching and executive coaching is that life coaching focuses on the individual, whereas executive coaching focuses on the individual, and on the needs of the workplace.


Is there any regulation in the coaching industry?

There are a number of coaching bodies whose members abide by a code of professional standards. We are members of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and uphold the ethical standards that the ICF has established. You can view this code of ethics here ICF Code of Ethics.

What is the difference between training, mentoring, coaching and counselling?

Training: helping an individual or group learn specific skills or knowledge; typically in a group setting.

Mentoring: a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, experience and perspective to encourage the personal and professional growth of another (often less experienced) person.

Counselling: helping an individual to explore personal issues and problems through discussion to increase understanding and support great self awareness. Counselling is conducted by skilled professional counsellors who lead the client towards self directed action to achieve their goals. Whilst coaching and counselling share many of the same skills, in counselling the client works on personal issues in much greater depth than in coaching.

Differences between mentoring and coaching

The CIPD differentiates between coaching, mentoring and counselling. It is helpful to understand these differences as, although many of the processes are similar, they are generally delivered by individuals with different qualifications and different relationships with their client.

Differences between Mentoring and Coaching (Was Mentoring Vs Coaching)

There are many similarities between coaching and mentoring since both involve a one-to-one relationship that provides an opportunity for individuals to reflect, learn and develop. However, when comparing coaching with the traditional understanding of mentoring, there are some key differences.

Mentoring Coaching

Ongoing relationship that can last for a long period of time

Relationship generally has a set duration

Can be more informal and meetings can take place as and when the mentee needs some advice, guidance or support

Generally more structured in nature and meetings are scheduled on a regular basis

More long-term and takes a broader view of the person

Often shorter-term (sometimes time-bounded) and focused on specific development areas/issues

Mentor is usually more experienced and qualified than the ‘mentee’. Often a senior person in the organisation who can pass on knowledge, experience and open doors to otherwise out-of-reach opportunities

Coaching is generally not performed on the basis that the coach needs to have direct experience of their client’s formal occupational role, unless the coaching is specific and skills-focused

Focus is on career and personal development

Focus is generally on development/issues at work

Agenda is set by the mentee, with the mentor providing support and guidance to prepare them for future roles

The agenda is focused on achieving specific, immediate goals

Mentoring resolves more around developing the mentee professional

Coaching revolves more around specific development areas/issues

In reality there are often overlaps between the roles of coach and mentor. A mentor can do some coaching and a coach may do some mentoring, particularly in relation to career issues.

Differences between Counselling and Coaching

There are obvious similarities between coaching and counselling activities. Much of coaching’s theoretical underpinnings, models and techniques are derived from fields such as psychology and associated therapies are applied in an organisational context. Counselling is a highly skilled intervention focused on helping individuals address underlying psychological problems. A professional coach will be keen to maintain the professional boundaries between coaching and the traditional therapies and will refer clients when appropriate.

Counselling Coaching

Broader focus and greater depth

Narrower focus

Goal is to help people understand the root causes of longstanding performance problems/issues at work

The goal is to improve an individual’s performance at work

Counselling can be used to address psycho-social as well as performance issues

Coaching does not seek to resolve any underlying psychological problems. It assumes a person does not require a psycho-social intervention.

The agenda is generally agreed by the indivual and the counsellor

The agenda is typically set by the individual with agreement/consultation with the organisation.

Other stakeholders are rarely involved

Other stakeholders (for example manager) are involved

Definitions kindly reprinted thanks to the Chartered Instituted for Personnel and Development - CIPD - (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development)


“Adrienne is a valued partner both as a leadership adviser and coach to Mercury Engineering. She has developed a high level of trust throughout the Management group and has added immense value.”
- Patrick Ryan of Mercury Engineering, 2010