The Difference Between Coaching and Counseling

Few people know the difference between coaching and counseling. Even if you’re familiar with the terms, you might use them interchangeably. In reality, although their underlying goal is to improve your mental health and wellbeing, they are two fundamentally different professions. If you’ve wondered about that distinction, here is a guide to help you distinguish between the two. 


The similarities

Some of the basic similarities between the two professions involve facilitating their clients to improve. They are there to provide the support and confidence people may lack. They encourage their clients to build on their strengths to face any problem and accomplish any goal by themselves. Coaches and counselors provide a space for you to learn and grow without judgment and criticism. Their ultimate goal is to help you better yourself in all facets of life.

The differences

The definitions

Life coaching is similar to sports coaching. The job of life coaches is to help you become aware of where you currently stand in your life and how you can improve and work towards your next goal. Just as sports coaches help sportspeople enhance their game and help them strategize to accomplish their next achievement in their sports career, life coaches do the same for their clients.

On the other hand, counseling involves the counselor creating a safe space to discover and accept yourself and facilitate you in your problems. A counselor’s main task is to equip you with the tools you need to improve your self-esteem and build on your strengths. They don’t solve your problems for you but rather show you how you can get out of the funk all on your own.

Their focus

Coaching focuses on improving your present and helping you work towards the future you envision for yourself. Coaching is all about reaching your potential and maximizing it. In contrast, counseling focuses on resolving older problems and becoming aware of their existence and how they may play into your current condition. Counseling helps individuals resolve past traumas and teaches them how to deal with their emotions.

Their training

Although their foundational goals are similar, counselors and coaches have completely different training for their professions. If you face certain issues, you need to be aware of who does what, so the professional can effectively cater to your needs. Counselors usually have extensive knowledge and experience in therapeutic approaches. On the opposite end, coaches are trained for a goal-oriented approach – that means they encourage their clients to keep pushing themselves and motivate them to achieve greater feats.

Their responsibilities

Coaches and counselors have different responsibilities towards their clients. Counselors are responsible for facilitating their clients to become aware of and understand their situation and how they can heal from the problems in their lives. Coaches are responsible for helping clients identify the challenges in their lives and how they can overcome these challenges. The latter involves a more business-like approach to life.

Both coaching and counseling can be helpful, depending on what you’re looking for. Coaches are great for keeping you accountable and pushing you, while counselors give you the safe space you need to heal.

Contact us today to learn which is better for you based on your goals at this time.

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