“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is more often helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” {John Whitmore}

What do you think of when you hear the word coach? Do memories of sports, music, or debate pop into your head?   Whatever comes to mind, the word is likely associated with thoughts of greatness, becoming, support and guidance – someone who helps you step outside of your comfort zone and pushes you to reach your potential.  So, as women on mission, when the stakes are high, how might the transformative power of coaching impact areas of your life like your career, achieving your goals, overcoming obstacles, pursuing your dreams, clarifying your vision, building and maintaining healthy relationships, and just figuring out the next steps for your future?  

It’s a question worth considering because the impact could have exponential benefits for your future.  So, what exactly is coaching? 

Coaching, at its core

  • Helps you identify where you are today, where you want to be in the future, and then helps you map out a strategy to get there
  • Helps you align to truth, live in accordance with your values and stay true to your sacred identity
  • Walks with you through the process of accomplishing your milestones by offering perspective, asking reflection questions that help you arrive at self-awareness, and identifying options and paths
  • Supports you in becoming who you want to be by empowering choice and championing you along your journey

As a result of coaching, clients set more defined goals, gain confidence to take action, make thoughtful decisions and become more fully aware of their natural strengths and gifts. 

What Coaching is and What it is not

The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as “an ongoing partnership that helps clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives.”  

The benefits of professional life coaching are tremendous, but it can often get confused with other valuable helping professions/roles.  So in order to understand what coaching is (as well as help you discern if it’s a good choice for you), you need to know what it is not, which means we need to break down the differences between professional coaching and some of the other helping professions.  


Mentors are role models and sponsors, who are more knowledgeable and experienced.  You can have a mentor in specific areas of interest or a spiritual mentor who takes you under their wing in a broader sense, serving as a life mentor.  They engage in intentional conversations, invest in your growth, provide insight and guidance into situations they themselves have previously walked through, and may even provide referrals to help you progress. 

A mentor acts as an experienced, trusted advisor, who gives wise counsel, but coaching is different from advice-giving.  A coach asks thought-provoking questions in order to help you arrive at a decision or recognize thoughts and behaviors.  But in a mentoring relationship, a mentee is more likely to be the one asking questions to learn from the mentor’s expertise.  Outcomes from a coaching agreement are specific and identifiable, while outcomes from a mentoring relationship are usually not as formally measured or focused on.

Therapy or Counseling

Therapists and licensed counselors are mental health professionals. A client’s motive for seeking a mental health professional is emotional healing and addressing mental health needs. Mental health professionals help you process trauma and cope with depression or mood disorders that severely impact your well being.

Professional coaching focuses on a client’s mental growth, helping them move towards desired results.  The biggest difference between coaching and counseling/therapy is education regarding mental health issues and disorders. A counselor works remedially on the emotional turmoil and discomforts a client feels, treating specific mental illnesses they might have and helping them understand the experiences they’ve walked through as a result of peeling back the layers of their past, how it affects them today and then helping them learn to cope in healthy ways; while the objective of coaching is helping people look forward towards their future and helping them achieve their personal and professional goals and development. 


Consultants provide their e and solve problems unique to their knowledge and experience within an organization or business. 

Consultants advise the client with their knowledge and expertise, usually mapping out a roadmap based on their professional experience and leaving the individual or business to execute the plan on their own.  Whereas coaching focuses on the individual client’s goals, roles and progress.  Professional coaches brainstorm options with the client based on their desired outcomes and together create a strategic plan for their unique journey with ongoing support and accountability.

Teacher or Expert in Their Field

A teacher knows something that their students do not and educates their students by sharing knowledge and theory. An expert is a person with specialized knowledge, knowhow and deep competence of a skill, experience or subject matter, who can be called on to teach or advise in a particular area.

The biggest difference between a teacher and professional coach is that in coaching, the client is the expert and the coach helps you uncover revelatory insights from within.  Before establishing a coaching relationship, a reputable professional coach makes sure that the client pursuing coaching is resourceful, competent and fully capable of creating their own authentic path to success with the help of constructive guidance and accountability.

A Commitment to Personal Development

Professional coaches help you do the important work so you can thrive as you live out your unique story, such as discovering work you love, elevating your career, owning motherhood, building a business, serving in a nonprofit, embracing your true identity or transitioning with intention. At Grit & Virtue, we believe that coaching can be transformational, so as you think about where you are now, and where you hope to be in the future, consider these questions:  

Do you have a desire to grow and build momentum in your current season of life?

Do you currently have the support you need to move forward in what God has for you? 

Do you need to seek out one of the other helping professions for support?   

How could a coach help you in your journey of becoming?  

Interested in learning more about G&V Coaching?  Click here to find help in your pursuit of a life well-lived.  Our G&V Coaching program is designed to help you walk in wholeness and thrive in every season.