As coaches we care. We do not cure.

This is clear when we talk about the difference between coaching and therapy. Although inner healing may occur in coaching, that is not the goal. With therapy, the goal is healing – usually involving resolution of past trauma.

In coaching, the goal is to achieve the client’s agenda for change. We work with basically healthy, resourceful clients. We facilitate a process, creating a space for them to identify and solve their own problems and achieve their own goals.

New coaches are challenged to learn the difference between coaching and problem solving, teaching, advising or directing. Sometimes it can be challenging for new coaches to learn that when coaching, their goal is not to fix or cure the client.

I was recently powerfully reminded of the difference between care and cure when reading a daily devotional by Henri Nouwen. It is certainly appropriate for a doctor’s goal to be a cure. However, attempting to cure someone or fix someone inappropriately can get out of control. Nouwen says it “can easily become violent, manipulative and even destructive.”

Care, says Nouwen, is “being with.” Feeling with. Compassion. Sitting side by side with the client. Nouwen calls for our first concern in relationships to be care not cure. “When care is our first concern, cure can be received as a gift.”

As coaches we care. We don’t let our personal need to cure and fix get in the way of delivering true care. Our coaching presence includes deep care that powerfully contributes to our client getting the results they desire.

Core Competencies referenced in this article include #2 Embodies a Coaching Mindset and #5 Maintains Presence.

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