May 24, 2017

Coaching vs Counselling – Which one is best for you?

You’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You have too much on your plate and it’s driving you crazy! All this running around trying to make everyone around you happy is leaving you feeling miserable.

You want to make changes in your life because you know things can’t continue like this. So what are you to do?

Maybe you’re thinking of talking to your family doctor so you can get a referral for professional help.

And what about this thing called life coaching you’ve been hearing about. There’s got to be something to it if even Oprah is an advocate.

How do you figure out which one is best for you? Here is the major difference summed up in a beautiful analogy, according to post in Insight Life Coaching.

Counselling can be compared to archaeology.
A counsellor helps you look back, “digging” to see how you got here and where you are wounded. The counsellor works with you to bring understanding and healing from your past as you grasp and deal with your present.

Coaching can be compared to architecture.
You are in the place in your life where you are ready to move forward. A coach will draw from your wisdom and insight to begin drafting the “blueprints” for your future. You work together to process issues, tap into your dreams and passions, set goals, gain momentum where you feel stuck and create the framework for the design of your life.

Fascinating isn’t it? Here are some more differences:

Life Coaching Counselling/Therapy
Proactive model based on personal growth, professional development and life transitions Based on the medical model for diagnosing mental illness, syndromes, symptoms and emotional problems such as depression or anxiety
Empowering via insights, skill building, goal setting, identifying internal and exterior resources Medication-based with the goal to alleviate symptoms
Present and future-oriented. What matters most is where you are now and where you want to go Often focuses on the past, such as childhood trauma and significant adult events (i.e. death of a loved-one, loss of a job)
Coach is non-judgemental and provides an objective sounding board Therapist is the expert


Reason for seeking out Initiated because feel stuck, dissatisfied with status-quo, want more in life, want to move forward and create a better life.

Desire for greater life balance, better quality of life.

Accountability to keep on track with projects and goals

Difficulty coping with day to day functioning
Terminology Referred to as Client Referred to as Patient
Insurance Coverage Cost is incurred by the individual and usually not covered (although I have encountered a few exceptions to this) There are counselling services that are covered by employer or provincial/state health insurances
Delivery of services Flexible in that coaching can be provided by phone, email, in person, on skype In a hospital, medical building or clinical setting, attended in person
Type of relationship Coach-Client: Coach is non-biased, non-judgemental and provides an objective sounding board Therapist-Patient: Counsellor is an expert who dispenses advice
Motivation Self-initiated because the person wants to Person feels that she needs to; family and friends express concern; referral made by the family physician
Direction Practical SMART goals (specific, measurable, relevant, time sensitive Healing from illness, cure for a syndrome, symptom relief

What’s my take on this?

As a professional life coach, I work with women who are experiencing a lot of stress and overwhelm that comes along with juggling all the many roles and responsibilities they’ve taken on.

My clients tend to be heart-centered women who readily step in to help others. She carries on her shoulders the weight of the modern woman to be “superwoman”, feeling she needs to be on top of her game in all areas of life.

She admits having a hard time saying “no” when approached by others and feels guilty for putting herself on her own priority list.

Because she is so “other-focused” making sure everyone around her is taken care of, along the way, she’s essentially forgotten WHO she is.

Many of my clients describe tangible signs of burnout, such as chronic stress, feeling worn out and generally on overload.


At the bottom of the page, there is a place to tell me a little about yourself and some of the things that are going on in your life. If I feel that I could be of service to you, I’ll send you a personal invitation to set up a convenient time to connect.


Francine xo

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