Coaching vs Counselling and Therapy – Which One Is Right For Me?

I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time! This is a discussion I often have with clients or people I chat with about life coaching. 

People will attend my workshops, or finish their first coaching call and say it “feels like a therapy or counselling session”. But If it’s not therapy or counselling, then what is coaching and how does it compare?

And more importantly, what’s right for you at this time in your life? 

Take it away, Dr Google. Here are the definitions of each:

Counselling – “the provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems.”
Therapy – “the treatment of mental or psychological disorders by psychological means.”
Life coaching – “a person employed to help people attain their goals in life.”

In therapy, these issues need to be carefully and meticulously dug up over time…

The simplest way I can break it down in my head is counselling and therapy is problem-lead – coaching is goal-lead.

Does that discount either one? Not at all!

If you’ve recently experienced grief, you’re getting a divorce or you’re struggling with an addiction – counselling can be amazing to support you through those scenarios, and many others that involve a lot of pain. 

Therapists are specially trained to deal with trauma, mental health, abuse in relationships and other life changing issues. In therapy, these issues need to be carefully and meticulously dug up over time (sometimes over months or even years), unpacked, processed and healed from. 

However, if you’re…
– Going through a transitional phase in life
– You’re not sure what your next step is
– You want to make more time for something in your everyday life – a business, self care, a hobby
– You’re thinking about making a big life change
– Or you just feel a bit ‘stuck’

Coaching is the goal-oriented support you probably need. 

Coaching motivates you to look forward to the future, counselling and therapy support you in processing your past.

Coaching focuses on goals, accountability, setting up an action plan that’s right for you and generally, keeping you feeling positive, focused and motivated. Many of my clients benefit from my ‘can do’ attitude and feel I can support them in bouncing back from lack of confidence or other mindset struggles.

Coaching is also very individual-lead. As a coach, I’m more of an expert question asker than anything else. We ask the right questions that allow you to explore, develop ideas and figure out what’s right for you. You’re the expert of your own life – we just help you connect to that intuitive guide that knows what to do. 

For some people, their situation is out of their control or affected by external circumstances like mental health, abuse, trauma, the list can go on! For these people, they need specialist advice and often a set of skills to help them to cope. That’s why methods like CBT have been so successful. Practical skills that can be taught by a counsellor or therapist, so someone has a method of dealing with their situation, particularly their past.

In a nutshell – coaching motivates you to look forward to the future, counselling and therapy support you in processing your past. 

I am the first to turn a coaching client away if I think they need deeper support that I just can’t offer. Coaching may be an option for them on the other side of that, but I’m not afraid to tell them if I think it’s best they see a doctor or psychotherapist. 

I really hope this post clarifies things for you and helps you figure out what kind of support you need. Whatever you decide is right for you, I hope my content can be a part of your journey!

Love & Good Vibes
Kat x