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Life coaching or counselling, is there a difference?

Updated: May 11, 2021

coaching session

Are life coaching and counselling the same?

No life coaching and counselling are quite different, but sometimes the lines are blurred, so many people confuse the different services provided. Although both coaches and counsellors help their clients to make changes in their lives the way they approach it is very different. Both coaches and counsellors need to have highly developed listening skills. Coaches and counsellors are both trained in understanding human behaviour and motivation but the nature of their training is very different.

What do life coaches do?

Life coaches help their clients to establish goals and then support them while they are working towards these goals. The International Coaches Federation defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential". The coach works collaboratively with the client and the focus is the future. A coach will facilitate and guide by encouraging client self-discovery, eliciting client-generated solutions and strategies and holding the client responsible and accountable. A coach will not attempt to diagnose, treat or manage any serious mental health issues. Life coaching helps mentally healthy people to improve their lifestyles and achieve their highest potential.

What do counsellors do?

Counselling, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with mental health and helps clients who have problems caused by past events that are preventing them more forward. Trained counsellors help their clients to deal with these problems before they can move on to achieve their goals. More complex cases are dealt with by Clinical Psychologists who are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders.

Coaching is more results driven so it is often a quicker process than counselling.

If you would like to find out whether coaching is for you, contact me to arrange a 30 minute complimentary coaching session or keep in touch via my newsletter or website. You can also read related blog posts Is coaching for you ?

You might also like to download this free Create the Life you Love Quiz that will help you work out if your life is out of balance and prioritize things you would like to change.

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