Counseling Vs Coaching: What’s The Difference?

Many people often confuse counseling and coaching services on a frequent basis and sometimes believe that they are one in the same. Although counseling and coaching can be considered to be in the same “family”, they are in fact two different things. In this blog, we will help to clarify and clear up any misconceptions about the two areas. We will also explain what the two are, how they can help you, and how you can decide which specialty better fits your needs.

First Things First: What is Counseling?

By most definitions, counseling is a means to help combat mental and emotional issues that an individual may be struggling with on a regular basis. Counseling can benefit those who may be dealing with a mood disorder, a conflict at work, grief and loss of a loved one, depression, anxious feelings, anger management, and other disorders. The list is endless when it comes to the types of issues counseling can benefit. Counseling is not only for adults but teens and children as well. Counseling sessions for kids may include behavior management, ADHD treatment, mood disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, sensory issues, and problems at school. Counseling also tends to evaluate a person’s past and present, while implementing techniques that can provide solutions to emotional concerns. Lastly, counseling may be used to evaluate whether or not a client may have a mental health disorder of some kind.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is more of a process that helps individuals to focus on their current life goals and more immediate “here and now” performance.  Basically, coaching is a means that helps individuals with their career and work performance, physical and mental well being, exercise and health needs, and even relationship building.  Coaching works one on one with the individual to figure out the best ways to accomplish goals in a timely manner.  The process of coaching involves meeting one on one with your coach to discuss ways of obtaining goals and how to effectively overcome obstacles that you may face along the way.  Coaching helps you to thrive in any area of life that is important to you but involves someone pushing you along the way to meet your maximum potential.

What To Expect At Your Counseling Appointment 

At a counseling session, you can expect to sit across from your therapist in a face-to-face type interaction. The therapist will want you to be comfortable until you are ready to discuss what’s on your mind. The therapist may ask you questions as to why you’re there, what you hope to gain out of therapy, and what type of approach would work best for you. You may not even know what type of approach will work best and that’s fine. You and the therapist work together to figure out what works best – whether it be just having a place to talk or getting homework assigned to you, each client enjoys a different approach. There’s no right way for everyone. A counseling appointment is meant to be about emotional well being and figuring out the correct path to feel like you’re on a healthier journey in life.

What To Expect At Your Coaching Appointment

A coaching appointment, on the other hand, is much more goal based. Your appointment will include you and the coach sitting down together or talking on the phone to come up with a plan for tackling your particular goal. You will discuss the steps on how to attain the goal and steps you’ll need to take along the way. A coach is exactly as it sounds. It is someone who supports you and pushes you to reach your maximum potential. A coach will check in regularly with you to see how you’re progressing and to make sure you are attempting to reach the goals assigned to you each week. If you are looking to get a promotion or apply for a new job, these steps may include editing your resume, applying to at least 5 jobs per week, etc. The coach will hold you accountable for these things and also provide support if you’re feeling frustrated, lost, or need guidance. Or perhaps your goal is to shed a few pounds. Your coach may sit down with you to help you come up with a meal plan, an exercise plan, and your coach will help you stick to it!

How Do I Decide Between Counseling and Coaching?

Deciding which is a better fit for you is a personal decision based on your current needs. Are you looking to work through emotional trauma and concerns in your past?  If so, then perhaps counseling is the better fit.  Or, are you working towards accomplishing something at work or looking be mentally prepared to run a marathon?  In that case, perhaps coaching would be the better fit.  In order to decide what you feel would be best for you, it’s important to evaluate your wants and needs and your current situations. If you’re ever confused and feel like you want a balance of the two, you can always call up a counselor and coach to ask questions.  In that case, the counselor or coach may be able to better help guide you towards what is best.  In some instances, many companies offer both counseling and coaching services.  Peaks Counseling, for instance, offers counseling and coaching services and we are trained in both areas.  For more information, click one of the links below, give us a call at (720) 217-5501 or contact us online for any questions you may have.  We’re happy to provide answers and can evaluate what the best path to take may be.