Coaching vs Counseling. Which one is right for you?

  Posted On:  February 3, 2021

If you are ready for a change but not sure which service is right for you, keep reading this article to:

  • provide you with a little insight to my approach
  • help demystify the differences between coaching and counseling
  • and help you decide which service is the best for you

A little about me

As a licensed clinical social worker, I completed formal education and extensive training to diagnose and treat mental health conditions.  As a coach, I have the foundation of clinical training as well as formal coach training in health and well-being.  Additionally, I have worked with therapists and other helping professionals for the past 20 years.  Throughout the years, I spent a tremendous amount of time and energy leading teams and inspiring connections.  All of my experience and training affords me the opportunity to provide both coaching and counseling services, especially for individuals in helping professions.

Coaching and Counseling Services

If you are a helping professional, it may feel a little out of sorts to focus on helping yourself.  It can seem impossible to take time for yourself and provide self-care.  The past year or so has only intensified the challenges of balancing work and personal life.  Things have become a blinding blur of virtual connections and ever-changing circumstances. Boundaries are harder to establish and maintain.  Even your personal life can feel like a tedious task to manage.

All of these things make now the perfect time to reach out and gain some support either through coaching or counseling.  You deserve the care and attention.  Not only will it help your sense of well-being, it can also improve your overall sense of satisfaction both at work and at home.

If you are feeling the impulse for a change, to make some improvement in your life, or heal from past experiences; take a look at how coaching or counseling may benefit you.

Coaching Highlights

  • Short Term
  • Action-oriented with accountability
  • Focus on the here and now
  • Goal driven
  • Does not involve mental health diagnosis
  • Not Covered by Insurance

My role as a coach is to be curious about your interests, ask questions that elicit insight and awareness, identify obstacles, create an action plan, and help you stay accountable to the change you want to see.  I am intentional about the structure of sessions and center them around what you want to improve or change in your life.  This includes things like achieving a personal or professional goal or improving work/life balance.

Coaching is a dynamic process that tends to be more short term than counseling because we remain focused on the present and work forward.   In addition to the narrow focus, I also provide more ‘outside session’ work through coaching.  Not only does this build momentum, it also helps you maintain your motivation to make the changes you want happen.  One other aspect that makes coaching different is that it does not involve any mental health diagnosis and is not covered by insurance.

Counseling/Therapy Highlights

  • Focus on past and present
  • Typically a long term process
  • More frequent and consistent sessions
  • Designed to help recover and heal from past emotional wounds
  • Incorporates theories of behavior and evidenced based interventions
  • Requires a licensed professional
  • Involves a mental health diagnosis
  • Typically covered by Insurance providers

As your therapist, I help you understand the connection between the past and the present and work with you to improve your sense of well-being and mental health by creating a safe and secure place to heal.  Additionally, I help you explore and understand behavior and patterns as they relate to your collective life experience.

Counseling/therapy services tends to more of a long-term process and may focus on uncovering and recovering from past experiences.  I incorporate a variety of treatment interventions but one of the most important aspect of therapy is the working relationship between client and therapist. I believe a major part of progress in therapy depends on if you feel heard, valued, and respected in each session. Consequently, sessions usually occur every week or every other week to help foster a strong therapeutic alliance.

Counseling services involve a mental health diagnosis and areas that I treat include:  anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, life transitions, and relationship issues.

Intersection of Coaching and Counseling

  • Client Centered
  • Strength Based
  • Confidential
  • Professional Standards

There are many differences between the structure of coaching and counseling services but there is also some overlap.  First, they both establish goals and highlight your strengths and internal resources.  Second, my approach remains client-centered.  This includes incorporating your insight, perspective, and lived experiences.  Third, I build on the things that are already working for you and/or have worked for you in the past.  Most importantly, I maintain the highest level of professional  and ethical standards for both services.

Which one is right for you?

If you know you have a mental health concern such as anxiety or depression, counseling is a better fit for you.  However, coaching may be a better option if you are looking for more focused help related to a specific goal.  If you are still not sure, you can contact me and we can figure it out together.