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  • Diana Schneidman

Personal coaching vs. marketing coaching

Personal coaching and marketing coaching are not at all the same thing, but it has taken me awhile to recognize fully the difference between the two.

Some minds work especially slowly. Take mine for instance. (No, please don’t take it. I need to keep what little I have.)

I’ve done some coaching as part of Stand Up 8 Times since 2009, and I first signed up as a client of paid coaching at least a year before that.

So it’s a big, big deal that I have finally pinned down that there’s a difference between personal coaching and marketing coaching. They are not the same thing at all. And while personal coaching is all well and fine for those who want it, I generally am more interested in paying for marketing coaching.

I perhaps am too critical and cynical regarding many of the personal coaching offers I see, but that’s because much of it doesn’t appeal to me. However, it may be just right for you.

What psychotherapy taught me

I was blessed to have the opportunity of extended psychotherapy many years ago when it was well covered by health insurance. While therapy looks like a self-indulgent boondoggle in movies and on TV, it changed my life for the better. Yes, it was a slow process, but somehow it made me a much happier and more effective individual.

Psychotherapy taught me that change takes time. Which is probably why I am so suspicious of personal coaching offers that make change look easy and fast.

So not true for me but maybe other people are less intractable and change more easily. If so, I’m jealous. (Does this mean I need more psychotherapy?)

Personal coaching addresses personal issues. Stuff like feelings and attitudes and what nots. Marketing coaching doesn’t fiddle with your head except in the most tangential ways. It’s about stuff like which marketing actions to take and how to do them better.

For instance, sometimes I help people to start making marketing phone calls in support of their businesses. I don’t help people determine why they are afraid of phoning or come to peace with bad news they’ve received by phone or revisit the time the old-style phone cord wrapped around their leg and tripped them up. I simply help people who have already decided to phone to come up with names to call and words to say when the other person answers.

Why it’s important to distinguish between the two

Mixing the two up has caused me a certain amount of anguish. I’ve been in coaching programs where I’ve loved some of what has been said and detested other lessons. In retrospect, I usually prefer the marketing lessons to the personal lessons.

Coaches sell their coaching by saying, in part, that everyone who coaches also needs their own paid coach.

I don’t always have my own paid coach. But now I understand that I am quite willing to pay for a marketing coach when I need one but I avoid hiring personal coaches (with a few exceptions) just as I avoid doing personal coaching for clients.

I’m feeling much more at peace in the coaching world now that I recognize the difference. I have pretty much put to rest the idea that I need some kind of coaching certification since I don’t offer the personal coaching most of these certification programs support.

Originally posted 12-30-13

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