Here at APCTC HQ, my colleagues and I get sent a lot of questions. Some of those questions we answer on our new Vodcast series, others on our fortnightly webclass, some we answer in workshops, and some we answer then and there by phone/email if we think that person needs an answer then and there (we love talking about anything and everything coaching-business related!) By far the most common question we get?
What is the difference between coaching and counselling?
We get this question from all sorts of folks. People who have qualified as a coach, people who are looking to start a coaching business and even established coaches, as well as those who still aren’t 100% sure what a coach is. There’s a reason why the answer evades so many people: they are actually quite similar in certain aspects. However, there are some very important differences that make them very different professions.
Today, I will be giving you a quick overview of each – what makes them the same, and what makes them different.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is gap analysis. It is designed to help people, or businesses, achieve their goals. This is achieved through accountability, through motivation and through creative conversations designed to help the client reach their own conclusions, set their own goals and milestones, and adhere to them.
Coaching is a vehicle for the client to reach their goals. These goals can be personal, professional and everything in between. There are wildly different niches of course but the skills, tools and strategies in play are essentially the same. Coaching involves a lot of conversation, a lot of questions and a lot of listening.
The key focus is the present and, to a lesser extent the future (where mentoring intervenes). Typically, clients who need coaching are already in a sound state of mind and are looking to optimise their lives, careers or businesses.
In coaching the key question is: how?
What is Counselling?
Counselling employs many of the same techniques as coaching, but its focus is moreso on the past. Typically, clients who need counselling are in need of therapeutic intervention in order to reach a point in their lives where they’re able to ‘move on’. Sometimes it is used to overcome a past trauma, or cope with a mental health problem, and sometimes it is used to overcome barriers.
In counselling the key question is: why?
Both of these services employ a similar skillset and the base objectives: helping clients overcome their problems. Both involve a lot of conversation, a lot of questions and a lot of listening.
The difference between a coach and counsellor mostly boils down to the objectives. Even though some of the skills in play are the same, what they are intended to achieve is very different. Coaches assist their clients in achieving their goals and making changes in their lives through gap analysis, whereas counsellors seek to help their clients better cope with mental health problems and overcome trauma via therapeutic intervention.
The base ‘starting point’ for the clients is very different, as is what the clients hope to achieve.
One of the most important distinctions is qualifications: while getting qualified as a coach is certainly recommended, it is not mandatory. Counselling on the other hand requires formal education, qualifications and accreditation. Understandably so, considering counselling clients are likely to be in more vulnerable positions than coaching clients.
Got any more questions? Sound off in the comments below, or pop us an email.
If you fancy life as a coach, as opposed to a counsellor, you can start right away. If you want to get your business off to the best possible start, we are running an offer on our flagship training: 7 Figure Expert. Access to the entire video course for just £1! Click here, or on the banner below to find out more.