Counseling Versus Coaching

What's the Difference?

We are often asked about the difference between professional counseling and life coaching. The services have similarities but also distinct differences. 

Counseling frequently focuses on healing from your past. Counseling involves moving from a state of dysfunction to function. Counseling involves spending time examining the past of the clients, assisting them with dysfunction and emotional issues, and treating a specific diagnosis. Counseling is a medical professional/patient relationship. Counseling is best suited to help people with more serious mental and emotional problems (those causing impairment in daily functioning). In most cases, insurance will pay for counseling when treating a diagnosable issue. Professional counseling can only be provided by a licensed mental health professional.

Coaching, on the other hand, focuses on creating a great future. Coaching involves helping a client use their unique strengths to reach goals in different parts of their life (e.g., health, career, relationship, etc.) Because coaching doesn’t involve treating a diagnosable mental health issue, it is not covered by medical insurance. Coaches provide accountability and support to clients, ask questions that inspire client action, and give clients tools and resources for success. Coaching is more proactive and preventative than counseling.