What's the difference between Counselling & Coaching?

Updated: May 18, 2020

What a question...

It is a common misconception that coaching and counselling are similar, but actually they are very different. And it's important to know what might be better suited to you if you are looking into therapy.

So, counselling is a listening based approach, where you can talk and explore your feelings whether this be from past, present or future. Counsellor's very rarely offer opinion or actions to move forward. Purely because they are like sounding board to what is going on in your life. Helping you offload and explore your feelings. It offers more of a listening based approach rather than action based-approach. I have had counselling and found it incredibly helpful, but sometimes it did feel like I opened a can of worms and didn't know what to do next.

Coaching is slightly different, it works for clients who want to change the way they are feeling and are ready to do the work. Usually client's come with a specific goal in mind they want to achieve. This could be work related, a relationship with a partner, building confidence, improving self esteem, anxiety and more. The concept being you want to achieve something, whether that is to have more confidence, feel better about your job or get a promotion.

It starts off with a exploratory approach to understand your situation, you can explore your past, present and future. The coach facilitates and guides you to understand your feelings and actions, then helping you find your own solutions and next steps. Some coaches may offer their own tools and exercises to help this process (depends on who you work with).

For example a clients goal may be that they want to change they're current work situation and pursue their dreams but feel to scared to do so.

When exploring this, you might uncover that you struggle with self belief, there is a lot of fear around following your dreams and some of this may be uncovered from childhood. Once you have a clear idea of the WHY, we look into the WHAT & HOW.

What is it you really want?

What will happen if you do not do this?

Is there a positive pay off for not following your dream? For example feeling safe?

How could you make a step to achieving this?

How could you move forward in the future without the need for coaching?

So, as you can see they are in fact different. Coaching progressively moves you forward whilst healing past experiences. Counselling stays in the exploratory phase.


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