Coaching is a term that has become over-used in the working world, and its definition has therefore become very diluted. Coaching is the art of enhancing another person's performance through questions that lead to self-discovery. Coaching is not consulting or mentoring and it is not just a euphemism for teaching. However, the best consultants, mentors and teachers also use coaching skills; e.g., active listening on all levels, challenging, using open questions to provoke insight, reflecting and mirroring back the essence of what the other person has been communicating, giving feedback and telling the hard truth. Coaching helps people find their own solutions to the toughest problems they face; the kind of problems that don't have an answer in a book somewhere. Coaching helps people discover why they are struggling with a problem and find the solution that is best for them, even if it looks completely different to another person's solution to the same problem. A skilled coach does not give advice or offer solutions to their client's problem, but provides a much more sustainable service of helping the client unlock his or her own solutions.
Leadership is the awareness to understand what is needed in any situation and the ability and willingness to act accordingly. It is a combination of innate strengths and learned behaviors. The most important work to become a better leader is to understand yourself; what drives you, what is important to you, what makes you crazy, what are your unique strengths, where do you get in your own way. All of this is essential information to best understand what is needed in any situation. The world is becoming more and more complex and ever-changing. There is not one leadership formula or method that will always work. It is important to be solid in one's own self and therefore have the ability to respond to every situation, rather than to just react.