Coaching vs Counseling

UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COACHING AND COUNSELING

Some have described the relationship between coaching and counseling as similar to step-siblings.  In other words there is a distinct connection, but not completely related.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) has defined coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives. 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.”

 The American Psychological Association (APA) defines counseling as “… addressing the emotional, social, work, school and physical health concerns people may have at different stages in their lives, focusing on typical life stresses and more severe issues with which people may struggle as individuals and as a part of families, groups and organizations. Counseling psychologists help people with physical, emotional and mental health issues improve their sense of well‐being, alleviate feelings of distress and resolve crises. They also provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of more severe psychological symptoms.”

 

One of the easiest ways to understand the difference is that often counseling is focused on resolving issues from our past that continue to cause distress or a crisis that has occurred recently and is causing emotional distress , while coaching is focused on developing strategies for forward momentum, while identifying roadblocks that are hindering someone from achieving their goals.