The following are very common situations and you must be aware of these instances wherein you are not being a coach:
1) when someone presents you with a situation… and you tell him/her the solution. Trainers and mentors fall under this category.
2) when someone has a situation, they go to you for consultation about the situation… you do your work and tell them what the problem is regarding the situation on hand. Consultants fall under this category.
3) when someone has a situation, they go to you for counsel… you ask about the situation; then you provide advice. Counselors fall under this category.
There is nothing wrong with these situations.
The reason why you must be aware of these situations is that you, as a coach, have the opportunity to coach the person. Have a conversation … crucial conversations — in a safe environment — are tough but fruitful… ask powerful, open-ended, and intellectually curious questions; mirror back what the person is telling you; paraphrase (this way the person knows that you get what he/she is telling you); if the person remains passive or silent, you ‘prime’ the conversation with what you think the situation is… with the hope of getting the conversation going … until the person — eventually — discovers the solution himself/herself!
A coach… asking powerful questions … that lead the person to the solution … is being a coach! A person (coachee) who discovers and authors the solution has a sense of ownership and most likely to succeed … he/she will implement the solution; ‘improvise, adapt, overcome!‘ will be his/her battle cry.