Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Coaching and Counseling

Coaching vs Counseling

Counseling and coaching are two very different professions. They focus on very different aspects of people and generate very different outcomes. People who are not aware of the differences confuse them with each other as the term “coaching” is a relatively new term and profession which began in the 1980s.

The main focus of counseling is on the “past” of a person. Counseling helps them in dealing with personal conflicts, emotional pain, relationships, and may or may not require therapy of some kind; whereas coaching focuses mainly on the “present” of a person; coaching them to be more actionable, set clear goals in their personal and professional life, be more accountable, etc. It may or may not require the coach to bring up the past of the person being coached.

Counseling is based upon dealing with the feelings and emotions of a person whereas coaching deals with actions taken, their outcomes, and figuring out the potential of a person. The method involved in counseling involves clinical diagnosis or medical diagnosis of relationship conflicts between people and identifying any kind of dysfunction whereas coaching involves learning about the potential and setting attainable goals and achieving them. Coaching involves clients who are already doing okay in life and want to further improve their situation.

The main question asked in counseling is “Why?” Whereas the main questions asked in coaching are “How, When and What” and at times “Why?”
The goal of counseling is to help the person resolve her pain and consistently improve the emotional well-being. People are helped to take more accountability of their feelings and emotions. The changes are hard to measure though they can be identified. The improvement is very slow and painful. Whereas in coaching the main goal is to help the people learn better and new tools and skills to further improve their future. It is measurable and deals with the external behavior of the client. It is fast and enjoyable.

As far as the relationship between the counselor or therapist and client is concerned, the therapist is supposed to first diagnose the problem and then provide guidelines and their expertise to help in healing. A coach, however, has an equal partnership in the relationship. He helps in identifying the problems or challenges and then the individual deals with them on his own while the coach supervises.
The therapist in counseling is responsible for both the process and the outcome of the therapy whereas in coaching the coach is responsible only for the process, and the client for the outcome.

The therapist is required to be indirect, nurturing, cathartic, and evocative. They are required to have expertise in subjects like child abuse and martial counseling, etc. The coach, however, is required to be more catalytic and challenging and very direct when required. He does not require expertise in any particular subject matter.
Counseling is covered in part by insurance but never by a third party. Coaching is not covered by insurance.


1.Counseling deals with the past feelings and emotions of a person; coaching deals with the present potential of the person and in improving the future further.
2.The method involved in counseling is clinical or a medical diagnosis; coaching involves identifying the potential of a person and setting goals to achieve them by being accountable.

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