You all have been asking me some great questions during the consult calls I make time for each week! Today I'd like to share the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions:
What's the difference between coaching and counseling?
Here are some illustrations that have helped me and proven true in my experiences of coaching and counseling. Please keep in mind that these descriptions highlight general differences.
Life coaching and counseling are similar in that they both involve a helpful relationship with a person to support your wellness and growth. They are both rooted in listening and question asking, giving you space to process and develop new insights.
But, there are a few key differences...
In the driver's seat
Imagine sitting in the driver's seat of a car. Counseling is like looking into the rearview mirror. It can help answer the question, "Where have I been that has led me to where I am today?" It focuses on how the past (family history, relationships, diagnoses) has led you to the present.
Coaching is like looking out the front windshield at your destination. It can help answer the question, "Where do I want to be, and how am I going to get there?" It focuses on the future - where you want to be in a given amount of time - and what route might best get you to where you want to be.
Climbing the mountain
Imagine you want to climb a mountain, but you know you need some help.
If you have shin splints, a broken bone, or are otherwise physically unwell, you'd want the help of a doctor. A doctor can help your body heal and regain a baseline level of health before you take on additional challenges.
If you're in decent health already, you might want the help of a sherpa. A sherpa, or mountain guide, can help you find the best path up, navigate obstacles, and stay motivated on the journey.
Similarly, a counselor or therapist can help you:
While a coach can help you:
Who is the expert?
Julie Eickman, career coach and my former coaching trainer, adds this: "With coaching, the client is the expert. Their goals, desires, dreams, and intuition all take priority. Coaches see clients as whole, capable, and creative. In counseling, the therapist is the expert who offers solutions, perspective, and diagnosis."
Any other questions I can answer?
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to help!