What Are the Differences Between Counseling vs. Coaching?

It’s often easy to confuse the benefits and even the very definitions of counseling and coaching in the mental health world. While the two are somewhat related, they’re more like distant cousins than any other type of closer relationship.

It’s essential to understand the differences between the two, especially if you’re looking for some professional help.

What are the differences between counseling vs. coaching? Which one is right for you and your specific situation?

What Is Counseling?

When it comes to counseling, the goal is to help people reach their personal goals. Counselors help to reveal the insight of their own lives. This approach helps you to be more self-aware. It also helps you to be more aware of others and their impact on your life.

When you become more self-reflective, you can improve your self-esteem, find direction in your life, and develop secure relationships. Additionally, when you’re more aware of who you are, you’re more likely to achieve those goals confidently.

Most people turn to counseling when they are going through a rough time or are dealing with things they can’t handle on their own. It focuses on present struggles as impacted by the past. Counseling can be an excellent asset for those with mental health issues or someone needing addiction intervention. It is a safe, secure environment that allows you to open up and dig into your past to better your future.

What Is Coaching?

While coaching has some similarities to counseling, there are a few critical differences. Perhaps the most significant counseling vs. coaching difference is that counseling tends to focus on the past to encourage self-reflection.

Coaching, on the other hand, focuses on the future. It allows you to see where you are today and what you can do to move forward. While counseling often tells you what to do to achieve your goals, coaching is about discovering what those goals are.

Differences Between Counseling vs. Coaching

On the surface, counseling and coaching do sound similar. Each method helps you find your best self and move forward with your life — but in somewhat different ways.

One of the biggest counseling vs. coaching differences is that coaching focuses more on action and change. Counseling focuses more on coping and healing. While you certainly will learn how to go out into the world and reach your goals with counseling, you first have to peel back layers of who you are and things that may be holding you back.

Coaching is about action from the start as you are guided to figure out what you want. A coach may challenge you more than a counselor. Though counselors will try to guide you to reach your goals, they are there for support and understanding.

Similarities of Counseling vs. Coaching

One of the most interesting similarities between coaching and counseling is also where they differ the most. A coach is trained to recognize which of your core beliefs in life could be holding you back.

A counselor can do the same thing. But, they will typically go further. In addition to recognizing what’s holding you back, a counselor can recognize if it’s something like depression or anxiety contributing to your setbacks.

Whether you choose coaching or counseling is a lot about personal preference. It also depends on where you are in your life and where you want to be. While both options will help you achieve your goals, one does so by considering your past and how you can get to the core of your problems — the other focuses on your future and where you can be with the right mindset.

If you’re interested in learning more about counseling or coaching, or you would like to set up an appointment, feel free to contact me for more information. Or visit my page on addiction intervention to learn more.