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Counselling & Psychology

What is the Difference Between Coaching and Counselling? Know the Truth


Lead Academy

9 Mins Read

Do you want to know what is the key difference between coaching and counselling? To know more, you can go through this blog. This blog covers the in-depth difference between coaching and counselling as well as their benefits. Moreover, this blog also covers the process of becoming a coach.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is the process of focusing on the present and guiding someone to be better for the upcoming future. It focuses on the ways to build one’s strengths. It is a task of moving someone from where they are to where they want to see themselves in the future.

Young man sharing problems with his female psychologist during couselling session.

What is Life Coaching?

Life coaching is a comprehensive method that helps individuals reach their targeted goals. Goals might be of any sort, such as personal, family, or work. A life coach is a person who is an expert in providing this facility. He clarifies the goals and figures out the obstacles that are holding a person back.

After that, he formulates strategies for overcoming such barriers by focusing on their eccentric qualities and gifts. A life coach provides the necessary long-lasting support to bring out a persons’ untapped potential.

Couple sharing their problems with a middle-aged psychologist during counselling session.

What is Counselling?

Counselling is the process of healing through the problematic and traumatising events of a person that took place in the past. It is a coping process that promotes behavioural change and helps a person achieve optimal mental health.

What are the 5 goals of Counselling?

There are 5 goals of counselling that are of the topmost priority. These goals are:

  • Bringing out behavioural change
  • Improving relationships that are suffering because of your mental health
  • Enhancing the coping skills of the client
  • Promote decision making
  • Encouraging the client to have faith in himself and his abilities.

Why do they Sound so Similar?

Though coaching and counselling sound similar, they are entirely two different things. The fact that coaching and counselling sound so similar is because we generally lack the basic understanding of their functions.

One other reason they both sound identical is that both the counsellors and coaches create an atmosphere of trust, and they guide us towards positivity by helping us reach our full potential.

What are the Similarities between Coaching and Counselling?

There are differences between coaching and counselling. However, they have similarities as well. Both coaching and counselling are two unique processes that help develop a person to have a successful future.

What are the Differences between Coaching and Counselling?

Coaching and counselling are the two processes determined to develop people by using similar interpersonal communication skills, but they are still different in various aspects. The 2 differences between coaching and counselling are shown below:

1. Focus

The fundamental difference between coaching and counselling is what they focus on. Coaching focuses on a person’s present situation, and a coach works on developing those personal strengths and utilising their untapped potential for a better future. On the other hand, counselling deals with past traumas and scars. A counsellor helps a person heal those past traumas by counselling and assisting that person move forward with life.

2. Foundations

Both coaching and counselling target the development of a person in specific sectors, but the foundational basis for doing this is not the same.

Counselling enables a person to succeed by following a clinical approach focused on healing a person by resolving past pains and improving the emotional state.

Coaching also enables a person to succeed by following a learning and gradual development procedure. This is done by familiarising people with their strengths and weaknesses and teaching them specific skills to diminish the flaws.

We have discussed the differences between coaching and counselling, but there is also an elephant in the room worth mentioning. This is because it is also quite similar to coaching and counselling. The elephant that we are willing to talk about is mentoring.

So, what is Mentoring?

Mentoring is advising someone in developing their skills and qualities. A mentor is a person who provides such advice based on his personal experience regarding a particular situation. For example, a person might be new to guitar, and an experienced guitarist can mentor him.

Young man teaching a young girl how to play the guitar.

What is the difference between Coaching and Mentoring?

Coaching and mentoring are a lot similar, yet they are very different.
Coaching is:

  • Structured and Formal
  • Measurable and Specific
  • Performance-driven

Coaches work with clients in a collaborative process, and they have formal training to guide people towards achieving goals. They also use various standard assessment methods and are trained to assist individuals in discovering their own solution to any problem rather than providing their own opinions.

On the other hand, mentoring is:

  • Development drive
  • Informal
  • Based on non-rigid growth parameters

Mentors don’t have any academic training in mentorship. Instead, they focus on transferring their acquired skills to another person to succeed. They are less likely to use any formal assessment methods, and they provide their own solutions to the problems.

Which One is Suitable for Me?

So far, we have understood the three different processes that play a vital role in developing a person: coaching, counselling, and mentoring. Each of them has unique methodologies. But, we can get confused when choosing which one to go for. We can easily remove this confusion by analysing certain things.

First of all, you need to think about any traumatising events that ever happened to you in the past. Do you flinch when you recall that event? If your answer is yes, it points out that you have a past scar that needs to be healed. So, counselling will suit you as counselling can heal a person.

If you have a passion for reaching a particular goal, suppose you are a basketball player who wants to be the best. Then, coaching will be perfect for you. This is because coaching can help you to overcome any recurring obstacles in your path and make you a better person for the future.

If you are new to any organisation or new to learning any skill, you can take the help of mentorship. A mentor can help you understand specific skills by sharing their knowledge and skills with you.

How to be a Coach?

Anyone can become a coach, but they need strong willpower and determination. There are no strict educational prerequisites for becoming a coach. However, effective coaches realise that well-rounded education is essential for a booming professional career. Aspiring coaches can select several specific courses when starting a career as a professional coach.

There are various coaching certificate programs that will enable you to become a certified coach and mentor. Enrolling in these courses will pave the way for you to become a professional coach.

How to be a Counsellor?

To become a counsellor, a person needs to have specific qualifications and certifications in psychology and counselling. As a beginner, you can choose any diploma course for becoming a certified counsellor. Upon completion, you can start your career as a counsellor.

However, if you want to pursue a specific counselling career like a School Counsellor learn more about the topic.

Career opportunities of a Coach and Counsellor

There are a lot of career opportunities for a coach and a counsellor. For example, a person might require coaching in any field, so the possibilities of a career as a coach are endless. The places where coaches and counsellors work are:-

  • Educational institutions such as- schools, colleges and universities.
  • Hospitals such as Cancer hospital, Child Hospital etc.
  • Sports teams and Athletic centres.
  • Coaches and Counsellors can set up their own firm for offering their services.
  • Many companies and organisations hire coaches and counsellors to gain optimum output.

Benefits of Coaching and Counselling in an Organisation

Coaching and counselling can have a massive impact on an organisation.

Let’s start with coaching. Having a coach in an organisation can boost the employees’ morale by organising coaching programs. These programs can bring out the employees’ potential, and they can be more productive and focused on meeting the goal.

Eventually, the company’s outcome will increase exponentially as all the employees will be in top-notch form.

On the other hand, counsellors can help the employee’s mental well-being in the workplace. The organisation’s employees can safely talk about their psychological and other issues to the counsellor regarding their work and personal life.

The counsellor can advise them to relieve the problems that hamper their mental well-being.
Employees can be the most productive when they work in complete peace of mind. This is how organisations can benefit from counsellors.

Do managers need Coaching and Counselling skills?

Managers should have coaching and counselling skills. If any manager of an organisation can acquire these vital coaching and counselling skills, they can evaluate and manage their employees more efficiently.

Despite having differences, coaching and counselling can play a significant role in a person’s life. A person can overcome the past scars of their lives with the help of counselling and excel in the future. Moreover, through proper coaching, he can reach his goals by discovering his true potential through proper coaching.

Cute little girl intently listening to her therapist during therapy session.


Generally, the answer to the question, “What is the difference between coaching and counselling” is that coaching, in general, is more concerned with assisting you in achieving your future objectives and navigating a new life path. On the other hand, the goal of counselling is to find answers to emotional problems and to recover from the past.

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