by Craig O’ Flaherty

It’s a perennial debate. What is coaching and how does it differ from other modalities or ways of being in a corporate context such as mentoring, leading and managing?

These words are often thrown around interchangeably and yet describe very different ways of interacting with people. Coaching is probably the newest of these descriptors and yet the lack of real understanding of its roots, or way of showing up in a one-on-one or group situation, means that it is often used to label, justify or disguise actions and behaviours that are the antithesis of coaching. The role complexity of modern managerial or executive jobs exacerbates this situation by requiring today’s leaders to master and utilize all of the aforementioned competencies. Deciding when to use which and having the skill to move in and out of each at the appropriate time is a subtle and demanding challenge. It is one that is made even harder by failure to understand the characteristics contained in being a leader, a manager, a mentor or a coach. This article explores these different corporate hats and the conditions under which each can and should be worn.

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