What is Coaching?

What is Coaching?

Gary & Cathy O’Neal are trained mediators. In addition to mediation services and conflict resolution training to the business community they are experienced consultants to the Christian Camping Industry and non-profit sector. O’Neal Mediation & Coaching Services offers Leadership, Marriage, Pre-Marriage and Life Coaching. Gary & Cathy are not licensed counselors, medical doctors or attorneys and as such they will not offer legal or medical advice. They offer solid biblical insight through career and life experience and continued education (please see “About Us”) for further information about their background and experience.

O’Neal Mediation & Coaching Services will refer clients to other professionals if the client’s needs are outside the area of the O’Neal’s experience and training.

The following information is provided to give our clients a clear understanding of the differences in these areas and to assist potential clients in making a good decision regarding their personal needs for assistance.

Many ask what is the difference between consulting, counseling, mentoring and coaching. Counselors look from past to the present assisting the client with healing emotional wounds and often giving the client a fresh perspective on the past. Coaches on the other hand look from the present to the future assisting the client identify roadblocks to their goals and dreams. Consider for example a football coach… the coach can see the whole team and can clearly see things from the sidelines that the players on the field are not aware of. He brings perspective and experience to the team and assists them in reaching the goal. While there are common characteristic qualities and skills in each of these, the following is a basic explanation of the distinctiveness of each field of training and experience.


Coaches work with people who intend to make changes in their lives to accomplish more or enhance the quality of their lives. With listening skills, effective questioning, and challenges, coaches assist their clients in reaching their clients goals and solutions.  Coaches provide options to consider and exchange ideas. The client sets the agenda. Many coaches specialize in one or more areas, for example: executive coaching, retirement coaching etc. Some work by telephone and have nationwide or global practices. Licensing is not currently a requirement, but certifications are awarded to coaches with specific training and experience.


Counselors work with individuals who have diagnosable illness and/or behavior that may prevent them from functioning well. States require that counselors and therapists be licensed to practice based upon advanced degrees and ongoing education.


Consultants are generally considered experts in their field.  They use their experience to implement change, lead management teams, to manage projects, and structure staff, management and organizational development.  They make recommendations and point out potential flaws in organizational leadership and process. Some companies engage consultants on an ongoing basis still others hire consultants for a specific project.


Mentors work with people who are starting out in a business, ministry or life transition where the mentor has experience.

Pastoral Counselors

Pastoral Counselors work with people desiring a deeper understanding of scripture in order to apply this understanding to everyday life.  Pastoral Counselors have extensive biblical training and/or seminary degrees along with training and certification in Pastoral Counseling.


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