Do I need Coaching?....Or Counselling? And what's the difference anyway?

As a tutor of counselling skills and a qualified counsellor/psychotherapist, students and potential clients often ask me – what’s the difference between Coaching and Counselling, and how should I choose what’s most helpful for me?

Here’s a quick overview of my opinion on the main differences:

Coaching is a great short-term intervention, it’s most useful when you have a specific and discrete goal e.g. “I want to have more confidence in meetings”.
Counselling is more open ended, more exploratory and can be less specific e.g. “I want to understand why I feel tearful a lot of the time when I should be happy”.
Coaching is useful when you are basically OK/content but you have a particular problem in a discrete area of your life (e.g. career, work relationships, retirement) that could be resolved or mitigated by taking some sort of action.
Counselling is useful when you are generally not content, for example when anxiety, depression or worry impinge on your ability to enjoy life.  Or if you have a problem that can’t be ‘fixed’ by taking action e.g. a bereavement or loss.

There are no black and white answers to this but hopefully those few points give you some early guidance.  If you would like to discuss which is best for you, fill in the contact form with your details I we can arrange a time to have a call.

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Article by Catherine Noel

Published 15 Mar 2023

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