Counselling or Coaching: same job, different name – or not?

I wanted to explain the difference between the two, so that you can understand how the modalities work differently, depending on where you are in your life. By knowing and understanding, you can better decide what will help you the most right now.  The key difference is that Counselling addresses how your past is negatively influencing your life RIGHT NOW, whereas Coaching is about planning and strategising for your FUTURE! 

Counselling use specific techniques to guide you on your journey of mental wellness dealing with problems that are causing you issues in your life.  Counsellors will guide and support you in addressing your concerns, provide a suite of tools you can use to manage ongoing issues and allow you a non-judgemental, safe space to unpack your worries, fears, dreams and hopes.  Coaching works in the areas of personal development, career or business development and can also move into the world of team and organisational coaching.  Coaches use methods such as directive and non-directive coaching, content or goal focused coaching and even neuro-linguistic programming. 

Often where difficulties arise between the two is when a coach inadvertently brings up past trauma, and they do not have the training to manage the trauma responses that may elicit.  Working with triggered traumas is a skill that counsellors have to develop, whereas it is not even considered in any coach training programs.  Coaching is about setting out goals and steps for you to achieve in the future, but this can often be impacted when you are held back by events from your past. 

Both coaching and counselling are about you moving forwards, however counselling is generally for people who are really struggling with an element of their life that is causing them problems, whereas coaching is when there isn’t necessarily anything “wrong”, but you want more in life, and you want help to get there.  I like to think of coaching as a support person who helps you set the guidelines and holds you accountable to what you decide you’re going to do.  A counsellor will make recommendations for you to undertake homework, however they won’t push you to do things, a coach is there to propel you towards the goals you set.  Coaches will challenge you more on your attitudes towards things than a counsellor will. 

A counsellor will help you build your own personal and psychological wellbeing when it is being, or has been, impacted by your life.  Counsellors will also help you understand deep-rooted blocks to a rich, full and meaningful life.  A coach provides strategies and exercises to help you clarify your goals and then design the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.  Have you every wondered what the difference was?  Share your thoughts with me below!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: