What is the Difference Between Coaching and Counseling

The main difference between coaching and counseling is that coaching is future-focused while counseling is past-focused.

Though both coaching and counseling help you to form a relationship with a person that boosts your wellness and advancement, coaches and counselors can have notable differences in their methods, training, and their goals.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Coaching
   – Definition, Benefits
2. What is Counseling
     – Definition, Benefits
3. Similarities Between Coaching and Counseling
     – Outline of Common Characteristics
4. Difference Between Coaching and Counseling
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Coaching, Coaches, Counseling, Counselor Difference Between Coaching and Counseling - Comparison Summary

What is Coaching

In brief, a Life Coach is trained to help you perceive where you currently stand in your life and then supports you in discovering strategies to advance you forward, making you achieve your goals. Coaching is more focused on the present and future as coaches mainly focus on defining the client’s goals and formulating the necessary plans through which they try to ensure the client’s progress motivating him/her with the required encouragement and support.

What is coaching

A life coach mainly focuses on motivating you toward a positive transition. There, he/she mainly explores barriers to transition, tries to find the solutions, and finally focuses on setting the plans necessary for the transition to proceed. For instance, you might be the head of a successful business making headway who is in need of establishing a balance between your life at work and your family life, or you might be a parent trying to excel at parenting skills. No matter whether it is a requirement related to your personal life or professional life, the job of a life coach is to help you achieve your goals.

What is Counseling  

Generally, the task of a counselor is to create a safe and supportive platform for you to self-realize who you are and to help you to deal with what you face in life. In brief, he/she helps you to realize your weaknesses and acts as a support system to strengthen you to cope with everything and to move forward with your life. Counseling more often deals with clients who are currently stressed about the challenges they face daily at home or work or due to emotional trauma. Basically, counselors try to shift the clients toward a more functional and healthy approach to life, work, and relationships.

What is counselling

Therefore, in counseling, you can share what is troubling you in a trustworthy, non-judgmental and environment, with a professional trained to listen and respond in a way that will help you to perceive yourself and others better. Counseling generally helps you find more effective ways to live a more fulfilling life.

Similarities Between Coaching and Counseling

  1. Coaching and counseling help you to create a more satisfying life.
  2. Both ensure an atmosphere of confidence and support.
  3. They help you identify what is obstructing your path.
  4. Both encourage self-contemplation and self-questioning.
  5. Coaches and counselors support you without being judgmental.
  6. Both coaches and counselors possess good listening and good conversational skills.
  7. They motivate you to reach your capacity and the possibilities.

Difference Between Coaching and Counseling


Coaching is a process where a coach supports a person to achieve a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance, while counseling is a process where a counselor provides assistance and guidance to a person in resolving personal or psychological problems.


Coaching helps you set and achieve goals, while counseling helps you recognize and solve your problems in life.


Moreover, coaching focuses exclusively on the present and future, but counseling focuses mostly on the present and on the past.


Coaches are trained in supporting clients to progress in life, while counselors are trained in human development, family dynamics, sexuality,  and mental health conditions.


Coaches, once licensed, are not supervised, whereas counselors and therapists generally have a supervisor supervising their work.


In brief, coaching helps people achieve their goals. Therefore, the assigned tasks of a coach involve planning, motivating, changing, and updating. On the other hand, counseling creates safe and supportive spaces where counselors help you identify problems troubling you and act as a credible support system to assist you in gaining the stability, strength, and resistance you need. Thus, this is the main difference between coaching and counseling.


1.“What Is Coaching?” SkillsYouNeed

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About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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