Insights & Market Outlook

New Year, New You

Coaching vs counselling

I’m often asked about the differences among counselling, therapy and coaching. Let’s start with what is the same in each approach.

What’s the same is the person feels “off”, that in some way life could be better or brighter. Usually this feeling is accompanied by uncertainty as to what to do to move forward, to get unstuck, and as social creatures, our first inclination is to speak with people in our inner circle: Can you understand how I am feeling?
I’m not sure what to do…
I’m struggling with this!

Unfortunately, the people closest to us are not always able to help us in the way we want or need. In their desire to help us feel better, they may tell us about similar problems they had or reassure us that everything “will be okay”. At these times, assistance from an objective party can be invaluable – but then the question becomes: what sort of help do I need?

A coach is a great choice when you have a clear idea of what you want to change.
The balance in your bank account.
The number on the scale.
The trajectory of your career.
Your relationship with alcohol.

Today, there are well-trained and highly experienced coaches in countless niche areas to help clients achieve goals in weight loss, career success, money management, cutting back on drinking and much more.

Often coaches have a specific framework for clients to follow, group coaching sessions, one-one-one sessions, workbooks, private podcasts and more.

The term counsellor is a broad one, often used for those trained to assist others within a framework of faith-based, spiritual, 12 step or other specific beliefs.

I’ve known many people who have benefited from working through their concerns and worries with someone who shares their beliefs and often has had personal experience with what the client was working through. For example, people who work a 12-step program often work with counsellors who have faced similar challenges in their life and then have undertaken a study program to become a counsellor in that field.

To the best of my knowledge, the terms ,“coach” and “counsellor” are unregulated terms, meaning there is a vast number of certification programs but no mandatory licensing procedure applicable. This does not mean that coaching and counseling cannot be high quality – there are exceptionally good practitioners in both fields.It does mean a prospective client needs to do his or her homework and be aware that if there is a problem, there may not be a regulatory body to which to complain or obtain recourse.

Obtaining referrals from people who have had a good experience with the professionals, and ensuring they have the skills and experience you need will be time well spent.

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