Coaching vs. Counseling – What’s the Difference?

It’s a common question with a fairly simple answer. The difference between coaching and counseling boils down to the time period of focus. Counseling and therapy mostly look at the past to explain the present, and focus on healing or resolving past issues. Life Coaching focuses on the present and future and usually in order to achieve a specific purpose or goal. There are several factors they have in common, such as total client confidentiality.

What Therapists Do (that Life Coaches don’t):

Diagnose mental conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, eating disorders such as Anorexia, and many other diagnoses. These disorders are most often the result of some trauma or environmental influence from childhood to early adulthood. People translate these issues into anger, depression, chronic stress and anxiety, avoidance, frustration, sexual addiction, or substance abuse. The purpose of counseling is to heal the wounds of the past to help correct the behavior of the present. They may also prescribe medication.

What Life Coaches Do (that Therapists don’t):

Coaching is a helpful method that looks at where a person is in the present and looks toward the future. Coaches and their clients (or as I like to call them, the “players” in their life game) have a goal that is determined by the player. The goal can be of a professional or personal nature. Many people come to me wanting more success in business so they can increase their income. Others are simply not satisfied with life in a personal area such as relationships or basic happiness; we work together to create a meaningful plan that will get them from where they are to where they want to be. Coaching can be on countless topics, but they all have one thing in common: they look toward the future.

Both counseling and coaching have the client in mind with the ultimate goal of helping that person be the best he or she can be.

If you are thinking about hiring a coach, please check their certification. Ask if the person is certified by the International Coaching Federation. Anyone can come out and say “I’m a coach!” – so the responsibility for making sure you’re hiring someone who actually knows what he or she is doing is on you.

Let’s talk about your goals. Click here to let me know you want a free 30-minute strategy session – no strings attached. I’m a certified coach whose mission is to help others break through barriers to turn dreams into reality. Let’s see what we can do together!

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