Counseling vs. Coaching
Since the 1980’s there has been a growing interest in the field of “coaching”. There are several different types of coaching, e.g., Executive, Personal, Career, etc., and each serves a specific function related to helping a client achieve desired results. With the rise of coaching as a profession have come questions concerning the differences between the practice of coaching and counseling. We have described these two different services in an effort to help you decide which one is right for you.
What is Counseling?
Counseling or Psychotherapy is a healing or problem-solving process. It usually is talk-based and occurs in a confidential, safe and trusting environment between the patient and psychologist or counselor. A psychologist is trained at the doctoral level by an accredited university or professional school of psychology and is licensed by the state in which they practice. Psychologists provide testing and evaluate and treat a full range of emotional and psychological challenges. A counselor has obtained a minimum of a Masters Degree in counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work or other behavioral health field, and is licensed by the state in which they practice.
Counselors help patients improve problem solving skills by listening, reflecting back, exploring deep feelings and asking provocative questions. Counseling provides individuals and couples the opportunity to reflect on, understand and challenge their irrational thinking and self-defeating behaviors. The goal of counseling is to help the patient achieve greater personal and relational understanding and insight that can lead to positive fundamental changes in their thinking, feeling and behavior.
Counseling often involves addressing persistent psychological, relational and emotional problems. The counselor typically works with patients who are unable to effectively cope with their day to day lives in a “normal” fashion due to ongoing problematic life circumstances, traumatic experiences or unrelenting painful emotions. Counseling assists the patient in returning to a higher level of emotional, psychological and relational functioning. The process of counseling can be emotionally painful until the patient is able to achieve a greater level of emotional and psychological equilibrium.
Counseling usually takes place in-person and on a weekly or every other week basis depending on the patient's specific needs. In some cases, patients with less serious problems can sometimes be effectively counseled online or on the telephone.LEARN MORE ABOUT COUNSELING
What is Coaching?
According to the International Coach Federation, coaching is an ongoing relationship between the professional coach and the client, which focuses on the client taking action toward the realization of their vision, goals or desires. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the client’s level of awareness and responsibility and provides the client with structure, support and feedback.
Most coaches have some formal coach training and are either certified or in the process of being certified by training programs accredited by the International Coach Federation.
Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.
Coaching clients are often high functioning, solution-focused individuals who are seeking assistance in moving forward in their lives with greater motivation, clarity, passion and direction. Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and created to accomplish great things.
Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve;
- Encourage client self-discovery;
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies; and
- Hold the client responsible and accountable.
I don’t want another day to go by without thanking you again for all the help you provided me in setting my goals and action plans for the New Year. The coaching you provided was exactly what I needed to get me motivated to pursue the things I have been putting off for a long time. Although it wasn’t always easy to hear the truth about my fears I know I couldn’t have dealt with them any other way. Thanks again for all your help and I hope many others will take the step I did to get their life back on track.