Is Coaching and Counselling the same?

Is Coaching and Counselling the same?

The idea of Coaching and Counselling being the same mode of practice is a very common mistake that most people have in the general public.

Although, Coaching and Counselling share some commonalities, there are many clear differences between the two. (Note: The term “Counselling” refers to a wide scope of counselling modalities much like coaching has. This article focuses on “Counselling” as the general form of counselling or is also known as “Psychotherapy“)

Similarities between Coaching and Counselling:

  • Serves the client and allows client to direct the session
  • Wants to help the client to understand the issue and to move on
  • Listens to the client, uses questions and empathy during sessions
  • Offer short term or long term services
  • Asks “How” and “What” questions as opposed to “Why”
  • Both Coaching and Counselling offer different modalities of the service to target different needs (ie. There is Financial Counselling as well as Financial Coaching available)

Difference between Coaching and Counselling:

  • Focus: Counselling focuses on the “meaning” of an issue in hopes to find where it came from and what it means
  • Focus: Coaching focuses on the “pattern of meaning” of an issue, where it came from and where to go from here
  • Aim: In Counselling the aim of the therapeutic relationship and therapy is to help the client manage their condition (ie. Depression, Anxiety, ADHD and etc) and develop ways to cope and deal with the current situation.
  • Aim: In Coaching the aim of the coaching relationship is the help the client understand that they are in control of how their mind influences their actions, to break through barriers and to create a new blue print or set of values and beliefs to help the client on their journey to live the life that they want to live in.
  • Emphasis: Counselling emphasises on the importance of the client’s story and encourages the client to talk about their feelings, meanings and thoughts.
  • Emphasis: Coaching emphasises on the important aspects of the story and encourages the client to look at the experience to look for patterns of behaviours and thoughts that discourage the client from living their ideal life
  • Outcome: Counselling focuses on the past and how it affects the present
  • Outcome: Coaching looks at the past, sees how it affects the now and focuses on shifting the present to change the future

There are many similarities between Coaching and Counselling but the Focus, Aim, Emphasis and Outcomes of Coaching and Counselling are very different. In order to make the right choice to whether Coaching or Counselling is more suitable for you, you need to think about where you are and where do you want to go.

To help you decide between whether Coaching and Counselling is more suitable for you, we could use the same analogy of riding a bicycle.

In Counselling, the counsellor and you (the client) discuss what is stopping you from riding the bicycle, what kinds of bicycle experience you may have had, how your family or relationships have affected your decision or fears to ride the bicycle and you may develop goals for you to be able to ride the bicycle again but executed at your own pace.

In Coaching, the coach and you (the client) begin by speaking of the fears and barriers that you may have developed, explore why bicycle riding is something you want to do and you both develop strategies, goals and new thinking systems behind bicycle riding while the coach is riding their bicycle next to you and encouraging and motivating you as you ride your bike.

If you have trouble deciding whether Counselling or Coaching is more identifiable with you, feel free to email us to discuss your concerns and answer other questions you may have about coaching or counselling.