What you know about Coaching is wrong. A Coach is not a Guru, an Expert or a Teacher

You might have heard or read the word coaching and coach in contexts that were expressing expertise, healing or teaching. In some job adverts, the word Coach is used nowadays to name in a fancier way roles like manager, coordinator, customer service advisor or even sales representative.

Online you can easily come across people that claim to have an expertise in some field and are ready either to solve your problems. There are people who use the word coach instead of therapist, healer or personal trainer.

No wonder that you may believe that a COACH is some kind of Expert, a Guru, a Healer or perhaps a Mentor or a Teacher. Or that you would expect from a Coach to tell you what to do and by following this and that advice your problems will magically solve.

The truth is that there is no universal recipe. Not even a doctor can guarantee a certain result 100%. But most of people will believe that there is somewhere out there that would be able to tell them exactly what to do in order to get where they want to get. Sometimes even a GPS gets it wrong.

As a matter of fact, about five years ago, I thought the same. And unfortunately the first so-called coaching that I invested in was a fake one. The person that I had chosen as a Coach was pretending to be a coach, but was lacking basic coaching competences.


Moreover, this so-called coach was judgemental, extremely leading and was putting pressure on me to follow her solutions and her advice; although her recommendations were not adapted to me and my situation.

What a Coach shouldn’t do

The ‘coaching’ sessions that I first took were comprising most of the time either a transmission of information from the personal development books read by the so-called coach, either by long advice with what I should do. Sometimes there was as well some questioning involved, but there wasn’t really an objective determined. Therefore most of the times I was confused and I could not see the direction I was going towards.


And although this person had good intentions and wanted to help, her lack of competence and lack of know-how to be a coach, made me lose my trust in her and the service she was providing. Plus I sensed a real desire to fix me, according to her idea of how I was supposed to be fixed. She even mentioned at some point that I was like a hedge or a tree that grew in all directions and that needed some trimming. And even if there was some truth in her intuition, I felt that she wanted to be the one who was trimming and shaping me, according to her views, beliefs and sets of values. In a way, she wanted to be some kind of guru, somebody on a higher position than me. But in a coaching relationship, both client and coach are on the same level and are equal. They are both partners in a journey whose direction is set by the client, following clarification in the session.

A Coach should never make you feel that you are led. And a Coach should never make you feel pushed or pressured into doing something. You are the one and only who should decide what is best for you, not somebody else. Otherwise, it is not coaching. Otherwise you would be led and you would lose you autonomy.

Unfortunately back then, I did not know all these aspects about coaching. Only later on, after following a coaching training accredited by the International Coaching Federation, I learned what coaching really was and what the role of a coach was. And I did not only learn about coaching at theoretical level, but I learned how to embody it.

Coaching has nothing to do with advice giving, expertise sharing or healing


Once and for all, please understand that coaching has nothing to do with receiving advice or expertise, nor with one-on-one teaching.

Coaching has nothing to do with healing either, although it may have “therapeutic effects”. For healing you go into (psycho)therapy, which is a space in which you can make peace with your past, work on your emotions (learn, express either past or present emotions), heal trauma and depending on the type of therapy, question your thoughts and learn some tools to help you cope differently with your emotions, thoughts and behaviours.

As a matter of fact, it may occur that during the coaching journey the need of psychotherapy to be revealed. It would be the client who would decide whether to do anything about this need or not. And under no circumstances, a coach would not state to his client that he or she does not need (psycho) therapy, in favour of coaching.

Coaching is about change, movement and autonomy

Coaching is about enabling change, about moving forward towards the direction that you set, as a client, and about developping your autonomy.

If there is an Expert in the coaching session, that Expert is YOU, the client. As YOU are the EXPERT of your own life. The Coach is there to enable that expert that you are through powerful questioning, empathy, presence, compassion, active listening and awareness.

Read also:


Need to reflect, but going around in circles?

Do you need to chat with someone to clarify aspects of your life, find new perspectives and choose the solutions that suit you? Then reach out to book your free coaching session.

Author: Gabriela D. Spencer

I support you to Balance your overall Well-being, be it physical, emotional, relational or social through Life Coaching and Laughter Yoga. My aim is to ‘support you to help yourself’ as you are the only expert of your life. My interests include positive psychology, body-mind balancing techniques, stress management, well-being and connecting with one’s inner child. I am a Multi-potential and an ISFP (according to the latest tests, but who knows). I write and express myself whenever my mind is bursting with thoughts and emotions. Read me mostly in Romanian and sometimes in English.

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