249: Coaching, Consulting, Mentoring, and Therapy: What’s the Difference?

249: Coaching, Consulting, Mentoring, and Therapy: What’s the Difference?


In this episode, I discuss the differences between coaching, consulting, mentoring, and therapy. I address the significance of these distinctions for those seeking support in their personal and professional lives. I also talk about where my work fits (and doesn’t) in within these roles. If you’ve ever felt confused or found yourself conflating these titles, please consider listening to this entire episode.

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249: Coaching, Consulting, Mentoring, and Therapy: What's the Difference?


Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: [00:00:00] Welcome to the top rated and award nominated Grad School Femtoring Podcast, the place for first gen BIPOCs to learn about all things grad school, personal development, and sustainable productivity. This is Doctora Yvette Martinez Vu, and I will be serving as your Femtor, providing you with tips and tricks and everything else you need to know to successfully navigate grad school and beyond.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: For over 13 years, I've been empowering first gen students of color along their academic and professional journeys, and I'm really excited to support you too.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Doctora Yvette here. Before starting today's episode, I want to announce that my co authored book, Is Grad School for Me? Demystifying the Application Process for First Gen BIPOC Students, is available for pre order. [00:01:00] It officially comes out on April 16th, and between now and the rest of the year, my co author and I are available to speak at your next event.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: We are excited because this is the first book that provides first generation, low income, and non traditional students of color with insider knowledge on how to consider and navigate grad school. It's the book that we both wish we had when we were undertaking our own grad admissions process at UCLA many years ago.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: The book is both a corrective and a calling card to the lack of clear guidance for historically excluded students navigating the onerous and often overwhelming process of applying to grad school. We walk you through the process from first asking yourself whether grad school is even the right next step for you, to then providing you with step by step instructions on how to maneuver every aspect of the grad admissions process, including providing you with sample essays, [00:02:00] templates, and relatable scenarios.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: If you're interested, we encourage you to pre order your copy today or have your local library order a copy, You can also reach out to us for bulk order discount codes. Lastly, we are available for book talks, workshops, keynotes, panels, and even book club visitations. Go to www. gradschoolfemtoring. com slash book to learn more.

Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. This is your host, Dr. Yvette. Today's episode is all about coaching, consulting, therapy, and mentoring. What's the difference? I wanted to talk about this topic because it has been on my mind for the last two weeks It's been on my mind in the past before I'm fairly [00:03:00] certain that I've addressed some of these differences in a former episode.

If I remember correctly, I've recorded an episode on what it's like to work with me and on my services, but I didn't specifically record an episode that was just about this topic about noting the differences between these types of services. So I thought. You know what? Let me bring it up to my audience.

I do think this is an important distinction to make, especially for those of you that are considering receiving some help or support in your life at any point in time. So why has this been coming up for me? It has come up recently because I started a coaching certification program. I'm part of the inaugural cohort of the Embrace Change coaching certification program.

If all goes well, after I complete the program, I will have the option to complete additional requirements and to get an ICF certification. [00:04:00] So I would get the certification that's provided through the program. upon completing it. And then there is an International Coaching Federation that also provides a certification.

And the ICF, as a lot of people have said, they use the phrase of it being the gold standard in terms of certification programs because of the core competencies, because it's known worldwide, because of its vast network and resources, and they really try their best to make sure that anyone who is affiliated with their federation, that they abide by ethical standards and , yeah that, that their actually coaching and not necessarily saying that they're coaching, but they're actually doing something else.

So that's kind of why it came up because I'm in, I just completed the second week of the [00:05:00] program. We have classes that we take with instructors who are ICF certified instructors. There's a different scale, , and step system. Like you can be an associate certified coach. And then after that, you can advance to become.

I believe a professional certified coach, then master certified coach. So there's different levels to it depending on your experience, the number of hours of coaching that you've done, and the additional knowledge and training that you've received. So in my case, I would be applying to become an associate certified coach.

And I believe you need to have a minimum of 100 hours of coaching that you log. After you have been involved in the program, so I can't use any of my previous coaching hours to count toward this program. So two weeks in during the first week, that was one of the [00:06:00] conversations that was brought up. It actually came up rather quickly on one of the slides.

But then in one of my small group meetings, someone mentioned that they were still a little bit confused about the difference between coaching and mentoring, for instance. And we even noticed as we were doing our Because we do a lot of scenarios where we coach each other. So as we were doing our coaching, , practice coaching with one another, there were some folks that were, I guess, out of habit, going straight into mentoring rather than coaching.

So let's get into the differences because by now you're probably wondering, okay, so what's what? You know, maybe you were thinking that coaching and mentoring were very similar, but they're not. And, , I realized too that I'm like, wait, my business is called grad school femtoring. So there is the word femtor, which, , you know, ties [00:07:00] back to the word mentor.

That is,, a core part of the mission of my company. But if you look up the description of my company, it's not a mentoring, femtoring company. It's a coaching and consulting company. And I realized, you know what, I need to do a better job of noting the differences between these things. Because if I. If I feel like it's not clear on my website, then it's definitely not clear to my clients because I'm the one that knows what I'm doing and not everybody knows what I'm doing. I can't assume people know what I do. So what is coaching? Starting off with coaching. When I think about coaching, I think about it as a partnership between you and another individual.

Huh? So the client partners with the coach to offer a space for exploration, a space for, , exploring possibilities, a space for personal growth, and ultimately a space to [00:08:00] set goals and achieve them. So for me, when I think about coaching, I think about. Allowing someone to empower themselves to make decisions that help them get one step closer to reaching their goals and ultimately determining like what is the outcome that you want from this one session, from our six session packages and how can we ensure that you are taking the necessary action steps to get there with each session.

So that's coaching. Coaching, you're helping a client pull answers and take action that they themselves decide on to ultimately reach their goals. What's an example of coaching in my case? It might mean, and this has come up, , among my clients and even in consultation sessions. It might mean helping someone determine.

for themselves, whether they should go to graduate school or leave higher education. Now, this is different from consulting or mentoring because [00:09:00] sometimes, you know, when it comes to consulting, you're telling someone what to do. So sometimes I have people who come up to me and they want me to tell them what to do.

And I say, hold up, hold up. It would not be ethically okay for me to make this decision for you. This is your life. This is your next, , four, five, six, seven, eight years. If you decide to go to graduate school, if you decide to go on this path, you need to determine it. I can help you by asking you open ended questions.

What in the coaching world are called empowering questions. So ask you, asking you lots of questions to help you ultimately decide for yourself whether that makes sense for you. And then comes the consulting piece because I do consult, because I do teach, because I do offer specific guidance to folks. So what is consulting?

Whereas in coaching, you're not telling people what to do. In consulting, And usually the [00:10:00] consultant tells people what to do in areas that they are very well versed in. Some might say that they are an expert in. So what's an example of me consulting? That's when, for instance, I support people with The graduate school admissions process.

So I might help someone create a graduate school list, and I might tell them exactly what they want to include in the graduate school list to make sure that they're not missing out on crucial information or information that I've determined from my many years of experience is crucial to know before you apply to a graduate program.

That's consulting. Now there's also the mentoring, in my case, femtoring. That is a little bit of what I do on the podcast. I mean, I'm offering you guidance. I'm offering you advice. I'm offering you suggestions about graduate school because I've been there. I've done that. So when I think [00:11:00] about a mentor or a femtor, I think about someone that's offering you insights.

Based on them having been in your shoes before. So if you think about a mentor, maybe perhaps your mentor is your supervisor. Maybe perhaps your mentor is your dissertation advisor. They are in a position that you. Hopefully want to be in and that's why they are your mentor or femtor. I say that my co author Dr. Miroslava Chavez Garcia is one of my femtors because she has many years of writing and publishing experience that I know of. I can benefit from, and that has been really, really useful to learn from her with this entire book publishing process, especially navigating the academic book publishing process, which is very different from the trade press publishing process, which I may pursue in the future.

Who knows? So that's one femtor of mine. I also have a [00:12:00] femtor. and coach. I have a femtor and business coach. I've had her on the podcast. Her name is Cynthia Pong. And, , I consider her both a femtor and a coach. A femtor because I look up to her. , I do sometimes ask for her guidance based on seeing her in a position of where I hopefully want to be in, in my business one day.

So that's why she's a femtor. But she is a coach in that. She's not making the decisions for me about my business. She's asking me empowering questions, , and providing resources, but ultimately asking all of us that work with her questions to help us ultimately determine for ourselves, what are the next steps we need to take to get to the point that we want to be in our businesses.

And life too. So see how there's, there's some overlap in what we do. You can have overlap, but you want to be clear. When are we doing the [00:13:00] coaching? When are we doing the consulting? When are we doing the femtoring or the mentoring? Now, the last thing I wanted to mention is therapy. I am not a therapist.

I do not diagnose. I do not have a license. I did not pursue that kind of schooling, training, those credentials. I am not equipped to do anything related to providing therapeutic services. That's outside of the scope of the work that I do. And I'm very, very clear about that. So if someone comes to me and I notice that they're really struggling with their mental health, that's when I think it would be my.

Ethical responsibility to, instead of working with them, refer them to someone else to make sure that they do get to work with a therapist, that they find someone who specializes in whatever mental health issue they are struggling with and to work with someone who can ultimately provide them with a modality of therapeutic services that will [00:14:00] help them manage or overcome their issues.

I don't do that. I don't do therapy. I am happy to recommend therapy. I'm a big mental health, advocate and I love, , encouraging people to have their own therapist. I have a therapist too. , I have been in therapy for many, many years. I know firsthand the huge life changing benefits of therapy.

benefits of working with a therapist. I know not everybody has access to it, but if you do, I'm going to keep saying it. I highly recommend working with a therapist. Now, if you have a therapist and you want additional support, or if you don't think that At this point in time, you need a therapist that you feel like your mental health is, , not doing so bad or it's manageable. , in that case, maybe you're ready to take action and work towards achieving some goals. And that's when you might want to seek out [00:15:00] Mentors, Femtors, Consultants when needed, and even Coaches. And so, once again, just to clarify, Coaches offer a space for you to co create some goals and co create some goals.

An action plan to take again, to take the necessary steps to ultimately reach your goals. Coaches are not telling you what to do. Consultants tend to be experts or very well versed in what they do and can give you some insights on specific steps you can take to get there, to, to do the thing that you want to do.

In my case, a lot of times it's to get into graduate school, or to apply for a job in higher education, or to help them learn productivity tools, skills, project management, , all these kind of software and things that I know that I can teach others how to do. That's the consulting piece. Mentoring, femtoring, [00:16:00] it's someone offering insights based on them having done what you want to achieve.

Mentor and femtoring relationships also tend to be less formal. Less formal than, , it would if you were hiring a consultant or a coach. Some folks offer mentoring services and they do charge for their mentoring, femtoring services. But typically, that's not the case. Typically, you might find a mentor femtor in an industry that you're part of.

who takes you under their wing and is willing to support you. And, , that's also one of the reasons why I like to compare my podcast to, , mentoring and femtoring. That's why it's called grad school femtoring because it's me offering guidance to my listeners who I call my femtees. And there is no expectation of any monetary compensation.

It's very informal. It's not, you know, that's why I add my, um, [00:17:00] what is it? My, you know, warning at the end to say, Hey, I am not your Professional consultant. I am not your therapist. You are not paying me for my services. Take my advice, insights, guidance, consejos with a grain of salt because I don't know you.

I don't know your circumstances. I don't know your identities. I don't know what's going on in your life. So you have to make decisions and take responsibility for making the decisions that you make based on guidance that you receive from me. internal and external sources. So keep that in mind. Coaching, very different from consulting, very different from mentoring and femtoring.

And it seems obvious to me, but it may not be obvious to you. It's very, very different from therapy. I've even had some people call me there. They say like, you're like my therapist. And I had to remind them like, remember, I'm not your therapist. I know you like [00:18:00] to say that, but I am not your therapist. I say it multiple times.

I'm not your therapist. I am your coach. You know, in some cases I might be your consultant. , in some cases I might be your mentor femtor. , but it really depends on your needs. So what have I done recently just to kind of help with, , clarifying the differences? I did go ahead and update my rates sheet, , where I list my different programs for coaching and consulting.

So that way it's clear What you're signing up for. If you want consulting, I want it to be clear to you that that's what you're signing up for. If you want coaching, I want it to be clear that that's what you're signing up for. If you want both, then we would have to have a separate conversation to figure out how we would blend the two in ways where it's very, very clear.

when we're doing the coaching, when we're doing the , consulting. So [00:19:00] that's it. I wanted to give you that explanation of the differences between these terms. I know they're often used entertain interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. And I do think it's important for you to know what you're signing up for when you work with anyone who uses any of these titles.

Okay. All right. That's it for this week. I hope you all have a great rest of your week. Bye.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Thanks so much for joining me in the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. If you like what you heard, here are four ways you can support the show. The first is to make sure you're subscribed and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. The second way is to get your copy of my free Grad School Femtoring Resource Kit, which includes essential information to prepare for and navigate grad school.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can access it at the link in today's show notes. The third way to support my show is [00:20:00] to follow me on social media. You can find me on Instagram with the handle at gradschoolfemtoring and on LinkedIn by searching my name. The last way to show your love is to sign up to work with me via my Grad School Femtoring Academy, my group coaching program for first gen BIPOCs seeking to work on their personal growth and gain sustainable productivity skills.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You can learn more at gradschoolfemtoring. com slash academy. Thanks again for listening and until next time.

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