What's the Difference Between Coaching and Counseling?

Updated: Feb 11

Coaching can be understood as

"...a collaborative partnership between you and your coach. You are the expert on your

experience. Your coach provides compassionate wisdom, insight, and informed interventions

for you to consider. It is an active process that requires your commitment and participation.

You and your coach will draft plans that require your implementation to be effective.

Coaching is not a mental health therapeutic approach. In other words, coaching is not

counseling. Coaching is forward-focused and solution-oriented. It does not address mental

illness, nor does it explore past wounds to discover the origin of current difficulties."

(Called2Rise.com, Informed Consent)


The typical person seeking a coach is well-adjusted and well-functioning in most areas of his/her life. For example, they are successful in their career but struggle with intimate relationships. Or, their marriage is great but struggle to maintain steady employment. Perhaps they have encountered a significant life change (empty-nest, divorce, or retirement) and would like help creating a new and fulfilling "normal."


Counseling is part of the mental health industry. Psychiatry and psychology are a medical model of treatment, i.e., "problems" are diagnosed and treated medically in psychiatric care and talk therapy in psychological care. Counseling is based on the medical model but takes a wellness stance. In other words, counseling uses the medical model's diagnostic criteria but approaches talk therapy from a strengths-based perspective. Insurance is often accepted by psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors, which can help patients financially. However, that also means that insurance companies weigh in on treatment options as they do with other medical treatments. All that being said, the mental health industry is invaluable. Psychiatric interventions balance body chemistry and are life-saving. Psychology and counseling have helped scores of people understand the origins of their dysfunctional thoughts/behaviors and can provide coping skills.


Counseling and coaching are not antithetical and can work nicely together for a holistic treatment option. I am not a counselor, but I am trained in both counseling and coaching theories and techniques. Thus, I can coordinate with a counselor and make referrals if a counselor would better serve a client for the time being.


Contact me if you are interested in exploring coaching for yourself.


Called2Rise.com

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