How is Coaching Different to Counselling?

Sometimes I hear coaching and counselling used interchangeably and I think it’s important to understand the difference between these two so as a client, you actually know which is going to be most helpful for you.

Let’s start with the definitions of each, and break them down further from there.

Counselling

E

The provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems. The goal of Counselling is for clients to recover from their past wounds and move towards a lifestyle of emotional healing.

E

The objective of counselling is to help people address and resolve problems that make them feel bad emotionally, or are impairing their ability to function effectively. This can include healing from Anxiety, Depression, Mood Disorders, and many other common problems.

E

It is understood that unless and until these problems are resolved it will be difficult for these people to make significant changes in their lives. Once they are feeling stronger and more confident, then they can start taking action to change their circumstances.

Coaching

E

Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches honour the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. (International Coaching Federation)

E

Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches honour the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. (International Coaching Federation)

E

The objective of coaching is to create improvement and beneficial change in the client’s lives.  It is understood that without coaching, a client would still function effectively in their lives, though they may be held back in areas or not reach their full potential. 

Key Differences

Counselling

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Range of clients, from those with mental disorders, emotional issues, and higher functioning clients

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Clients often need assistance and direction in recovering from past events, more past focused work (though not entirely)

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Works predominately in the domain of emotions.

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Counsellor provides much more direction, a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Coaching

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Typically well functioning clients, who want to progress further and reach their potential.

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Coaching sessions are mostly future focused.

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Coach does not give advice or lead the conversation.  Rarely does a coach introduce a tool or resource, and only with the client’s permission.

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Clients are resourceful, and have the ability to find solutions, commit to actions and follow through.

Choosing Between Counselling and Coaching

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Objective

What is your objective? What are you trying to achieve in the sessions?

    5

    Counselling

    I need to heal from past emotional wounds, to be able to move forward living free from pain.

      5

      Coaching

      I need to create an action plan for the future to achieve a goal or shift a behaviour of mine.

        $

        Resourceful

        How able are you to move forward, find solutions and commit to new actions?

          5

          Counselling

          I feel that I need lots of support, direction, and tools to help me heal and move forward.

            5

            Coaching

            I feel that with a little support and the right questions, I can find solutions and commit to actions.

              $

              Mental Health

              How would you describe your mental health?  Have you had an mental health issues in the past?

                5

                Counselling

                I suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction,  low self esteem, or another mental health issue.  

                  5

                  Coaching

                  I feel mentally strong, confident, and usually feel good.

                    $

                    Qualifications

                    Once you’ve decided on a counsellor or coach, what qualifications should you look for? 

                    5

                    Counselling

                    Best: University Degree in Counselling, and a post graduate Diploma / Masters in a specialty stream of counselling that aligns with the areas you want to work on.

                      5

                      Coaching

                      Best: Coach that has completed an ICF accredited course, and is continuing their professional development as a current member of the ICF.

                        Still not sure of coaching is for you?

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