Difference between counseling and Coaching

According to The British Association for Counseling (BACP) 1986, “Counselling is the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate self- knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of personal resources.” 

The overall aim is to provide an opportunity to work towards living more satisfyingly and resourcefully. Counselling relationships will vary according to need but may be concerned with developmental issues, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insights and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others.

Counseling is a process that maybe developmental or intervening. Counselors focus on their clients’ goals. Thus, counseling involves both choice and change. In some cases, “counseling is a rehearsal for action” (Casey, 1996, p. 176)

Counselling is a process that involves a counsellor. A counsellor helps a person deal with different concepts of life. They also help to deal with the difficulties that a person may face in their life. They also try to help a person who is dealing with past trauma or the things that a person might have faced in their past.

Today, the entire concept of mental health and the things that are related to it are being talked about, and many issues are being addressed by people. People often try to suppress their problems by ignoring them or by distracting themselves from the problem, which further leads to an even bigger problem. This and many other reasons are proof that people must believe in counselling, and they should try to seek proper advice from the counsellor.

Coaching is a process that involves a coach and a coachee. A coach is a person with expertise who trains the coachee to set their aim and goals and guides the coachee to achieve that target. It is a process where a coachee learns several things about the field that he is seeking training in. (Institute of Leadership and Management, 2011, p2)

Some professional groups refer to “coaching”, by which they mean individualized and non-directive assistance to people to discover and realize their full potential, set and reach better goals, become more self-confident, and overcome various personal problems and barriers to performance and achievement. The basic philosophy of coaching is very close to counselling

Today, Coaching is available in various fields like sports, arts, acting etc. Various sports require appropriate Coaching so that the player can stay fit on the field and improve his or her game. In arts, Coaching is required in many forms of arts like painting, drawing etc. In acting, you require coaches to train you regarding the deep study of acting and its various forms.

Different coaches use different techniques, and each coach has their style of teaching and preaching. Some coaches use different teaching aids to make their coachee understand a particular concept. They make sure that the technique works and the coachee understands and implement that particular lesson in the practical experience.

There are various examples of coaches and coachees that are famous for their mentor and mentee relationships. Coaches play an important role in a person’s life. They not only teach about a particular field, but they also teach life lessons through the lessons. Sometimes they try to relate the main subject matter to the various life lessons that a coachee might learn and implement.

The following are the explained differences between counselling and coaching

  1. In Coaching, coaches don’t diagnose and treat. They train and guide their tutors in the particular field they opt for. For example, a firm in need in improving and developing a new business venture has to learn from coach on the best ways in expanding their business sphere.

 On the other hand, in counselling, a counsellor diagnoses and treat the patient. For example, client who experienced failure in most of his business will have to explain to the counselor on his problem and the counselor will have to pass through different stages to know the root cause and effects of problem so as to come up with the best solution to the problem.

  • In Coaching, the person with expertise is addressed as a “coach”. For example, when a client is in need of training and guide to meet a future goal then he has to be coached.

On the other hand, in counselling, the person with expertise is often addressed as a therapist, counsellor, psychologist etc.

  • In Coaching, the focus is put on the present and future. For example, client with retarded sales on present and needs to improve his sales then he focuses on current market and make strategies on meeting the future sales target.

On the other hand, in counselling, the focus is put on the past and present.It is therefore geared towards understanding and resolving the past. Thereby, helping someone move forward and be able to reach their individual potential in life.

  • In Coaching, the client is considered whole. For example a client will be considered as an organization with all full required potentials and only what it needs is implementing the strategy on hand to meet his objectives.

 On the other hand, in counselling, the assumption is made that the client needs healing. For example, client with difficulties in allocating his sales then they are guided on what are the causes, effects and best solutions to what is encountering them.

  • In Coaching, a person is trained to gain maximum results and strategies are taught. For example, a staff is trained on best techniques that will guide them towards achieving of future stated goals.

On the other hand, in counselling, a person is guided to stabilize themselves and their life by resolving their issues. For example, a firm consulted for poor performance in sales is then guided on what measures at to be taken for improvements.


If a person wishes to gain expertise in a certain field, then he or she can opt for the coaching option in that respective field. If a person is dealing with a certain issue in their life or requires guidance to resolve it, then he or she can opt for the counselling option.

Both options differ from each other as they are required for different reasons. People find these options appropriate, and they opt for them. These options help people gain perspective, and they create a disciplined path for them in their lives without any chaos.