Counseling vs. Coaching

Counseling vs. Coaching

Since the 1980’s there has been a growing interest in the field of “coaching”.  There are several different types of coaching, e.g., Executive, Personal, Career, etc., and each serves a specific function related to helping a client achieve desired results.  With the rise of coaching as a profession have come questions concerning the differences between the practice of coaching and counseling.  We have described these two different services in an effort to help you decide which one is right for you.

What is Coaching?

According to the International Coach Federation, coaching is an ongoing relationship between the professional coach and the client, which focuses on the client taking action toward the realization of their vision, goals or desires.  Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the client’s level of awareness and responsibility and provides the client with structure, support and feedback.

Most coaches have some formal coach training and are either certified or in the process of being certified by training programs accredited by the International Coach Federation.

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.

Coaching clients are often high functioning, solution-focused individuals who are seeking assistance in moving forward in their lives with greater motivation, clarity, passion and direction. Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and created to accomplish great things.

Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve;
Encourage client self-discovery;
Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies; and
Hold the client responsible and accountable.

What is Counseling?

Counseling or Psychotherapy is a healing or problem-solving process.  It usually is talk-based and occurs in a confidential, safe and trusting environment between the client and the psychologist.  A psychologist is trained at the doctoral level by an accredited university or professional school of psychology and is licensed by the state in which they practice.  Psychologists provide testing and evaluate and treat a full range of emotional and psychological challenges.

The psychologist helps the client to improve problem solving skills by listening, reflecting back, exploring deep feelings and asking provocative questions.  Counseling provides individuals and couples the opportunity to reflect on, understand and challenge their irrational thinking and self-defeating behaviors.  The goal of counseling is to help the client achieve greater personal and relational understanding and insight that can lead to positive fundamental changes in their thinking, feeling and behavior.

Counseling often involves addressing persistent personal, relational and emotional problems.  The psychologist typically works with clients who are unable to effectively cope with their day to day lives in a “normal” fashion due to ongoing problematic life circumstances, traumatic experiences or unrelenting painful emotions.  Counseling assists the client in returning to a higher level of emotional, psychological and relational functioning.  The process of counseling can be emotionally painful until the client is able to achieve a greater level of emotional and psychological equilibrium.

Counseling usually takes place in-person and on a weekly or every other week basis depending on the client’s specific needs.  In some cases, clients with less serious problems can sometimes be effectively counseled online or on the telephone.

Dr. Todd is a licensed psychologist, executive coach, published author, and national conference and seminar speaker. He has been a featured expert on national and local radio talk shows and television news programs.

"I can’t thank you enough for the help you gave me at a very dark time in my life. Your ability to listen and not pass judgment was tremendously helpful. You helped me to identify the negative beliefs I had about myself and my life in general and how they were influencing my emotions... Read More

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