We are inherently involved in the interaction of cognition and affect when we confront the challenges of complexity, unpredictability and turbulence. How is this interaction treated in coaching? First, feelings are treated as important data during a coaching session but are not the focus of this session. If feelings were the focal point, then the person conducting the session would become a counselor or therapist. She would no longer be a coach. Unfortunately, some coaches—especially those doing so-called personal coaching—move in and out of therapeutic relationships with the people they are coaching, without making such shifting explicit. This has, in turn, led to considerable controversy regarding the field of coaching and, in particular, over-generalized condemnation of (and heavy-handed attempts to regulate) this emergent field.
Confusion also exists about the relationship between consulting and coaching. A coaching session is not just about arriving at a reasonable solution to a difficult organizational problem. If it were, then the coach would have become a consultant. Coaching is always about the process as well as the short-term and long-term outcomes of decision-making. The coach and decision-maker being coached are always moving beyond the specific issue to be solved in order to expand the leader’s ability to cognitively and emotionally apply present learning for the future and, as a result, create lasting behavioral change or even personal transformation.