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Coaching vs Counselling

What is the difference between coaching and counselling?  

Which one should I choose?

It can be confusing to experts, let alone those who've never looked into coaching vs counselling. There are many similarities between them and they both can be very effective in helping clients with all manner of personal growth and other issues.  In many countries there are no legal restrictions on either and thus one can do both or interchange them as the client needs. On the other hand in some countries, such as the USA, counselling is highly regulated by and varies from state to state. Thus if you are not in Canada, at this time I can only provide coaching.  Those of you in Canada we can work together to see what fit works best for you.  

Life, Health, & CBT Coaching.

Collins Dictionary states: "A life coach is someone whose job involves helping people to improve their lives by doing challenging or worthwhile things."

Coaching is all about moving forward with specific goals.  The coach and client work together as a team creating goals and working on solutions to move forward toward those goals.  These goals can be related to all manner of life from diet goals, exercise goals, to relationship goals, and emotional goals as well. 


On the other hand counselling is more involved with your mental state. Collins Dictionary states: "Counselling is advice which a therapist or other expert gives to someone about a particular problem."  The CCPA states: "Counselling psychology is a broad specialization within professional psychology concerned with using psychological principles to enhance and promote the positive growth, well-being, and mental health of individuals, families, groups, and the broader community."

Counselling works with those experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.  It focuses on empathy and methods that work with the client to improve their state of well-being.  


Both coaching and counselling work with a client to move them forward in personal growth, dealing with life challenges, finding happiness, building relationships, and much more.  The both use a variety of techniques that overlap such as solution focused, dealing with poor thinking, and so on. 


However coaching is not meant to deal with specific mental illnesses.  There is no assessment or treatment of disorders or mental illness.  This is left to the realm of counselling.  Counselling can be far more in depth and personal.  

NOTE: The definitions and information above may be different in different countries, i.e. some countries do not prevent unlicensed counsellors from practicing while in other countries counselling is highly regulated. At this time coaching is not regulated in ANY country that I am aware of. This article is by no means legal advice.