COUNSELING or COACHING?
People often want to know the difference between coaching and counseling. Although there is some overlap and they both provide valuable support, it’s helpful to understand some of the basic distinctions when determining which service is right for you.
*Tends to examine patterns of behavior and explores root causes of those patterns.
*Develops awareness and resilience in order to achieve emotional wellness.
*Heals emotional pain and trauma.
*Tends to be a challenging process that yields profound healing.
*Is billable to most health insurance plans, which requires a mental health diagnosis. Insurance companies may dictate provider, number of sessions and type of treatment.
*Is ongoing or continues until there is a significant reduction in symptoms or a sustainable sense of relief and contentment.
*Is facilitated by a highly qualified professional with significant training and professional accountability.
*Tends to target specific goals and establishes a clear plan of action.
*Leverages strengths and potential in order to achieve specific results.
*Focuses on success and improvement without necessarily diving deep into past trauma.
*Helps guide people toward their full potential.
*Tends to be a fun and engaging process that yields empowerment.
*Is not covered by insurance and does not include a mental health diagnosis.
*Is finite and typically includes a specific number of sessions within a set time frame.
*Does not require a license or specific certification for practice (although there are many quality training programs that hold coaches to a high standard of performance).
I offer both of these services and to be completely honest, the distinction between the two can be blurry in practice. There are times when traumatic experiences are discussed in coaching and times when strategic action plans are devised in counseling. It depends on the individual needs and experiences of the client.
However, coaching in general is a less nebulous and more targeted experience. It is best suited for people who want to achieve specific goals or experience a clear outcome. Counseling, on the other hand, is best suited for people who may not fully understand their challenges but who want to dive deep to overcome them.
My suggestion is to make the choice based on what you truly want or need rather than cost or other logistical concerns. Mental health and life guidance is not an area to bargain shop and shouldn’t be regarded as a frivolous expense. These are services that have the potential to change your life for the better. You deserve it!