How To Know If You Need A Coach Or A Counsellor

by | Mar 19, 2019 | Personal Growth

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Coaching vs Counselling: How Do You Choose?

This is a question I’ve been getting often and so I’m finally answering this question in this article to help you understand what the differences are.

So I want to start out by saying that, yes, there are differences between the two.

And it’s important for you to understand what each has to offer so you can make the best decision for what you need right now.

Because there are benefits to both.

What Is A Coach?

A professionally trained coach is someone who can help you maximize your full potential and reach your desired results.

What Does A Coach Do?

A coach guides you from where you are today to where you want to go through an actionable plan that they will hold you accountable for.

In a nutshell, it’s a partnership between the client and the coach that focuses on what’s happening today and how to get to your desired future.

Who Can Benefit From A Coach?

There are so many — too many to list them all — examples of who can benefit from coaching. However, I will give some examples of women that I would typically work with (and this list isn’t exhaustive)…

So who can benefit from coaching? A woman who is…

  • Transitioning – empty-nesting, leaving a difficult relationship, loss of a loved one, or seeking a promotion or new position at work.
  • Struggling with limiting beliefs – wants to break through lies and beliefs that are keeping her from who she wants to be.
  • A business owner – wants to increase sales or shift focus in business and she’s not sure how.
  • Dreaming big and feels overwhelmed – needs help to define the dream or figuring out next steps.

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  • Feeling stuck in some area of her life – needs a breakthrough whether it’s how to lose weight, what to do about a difficult relationship, changing from a negative to a positive mindset, or how to deal with anxiety that a cluttered mind brings.
  • Struggling to overcome resentment and bitterness – help her to work toward forgiveness and healthier relationships.
  • Looking to reach specific goals or milestones in certain areas in her life – needs help setting and reaching personal goals.
  • Struggling with difficult relationships – needs help deciding whether to stay or go or how to repair and restore a broken relationship.
  • Feeling disconnected with her spouse – wants help and support to fall in love again with her husband.
  • Looking for new possibilities – needs help imagining new opportunities, or needs to be equipped for new challenges ahead.

These are just some examples to give you an idea of the types of challenges that I can help women overcome.  

What Are The Benefits Of Coaching?

Some of the benefits you gain from the coaching relationship include…

  • Accountability – We’ll meet regularly and I will hold you accountable to the goals and action plan that YOU decide on.
  • Encouragement and support  – I will be your biggest cheerleader as you work through different challenges and take your next steps. You’ll gain confidence as you expand your ideas about what is possible.
  • Safe place to reflect and process – My goal is to help you achieve YOUR goals, so I create a non-judgemental space for you to think deeply into your challenges.
  • Clarity – You’ll gain clarity as I ask you insightful questions about how you can take your next steps to achieve what you dream of.
  • Breakthrough limiting beliefs – You’ll gain new and deeper awareness about lies and limiting beliefs that are holding you back and you’ll learn how to overcome those to develop the positive mindset you need to reach your goals.
  • Actionable plan – As you gain clarity, you’ll form an actionable plan to help you achieve the success you’re looking for. And I’ll be supporting you every step of the way as you figure out what your next steps are.
  • Achieve your goals – I can help you to achieve the improvement you’re longing for in your health situation, relationships, mindset, business, leaders or career.

What Does The Coaching Relationship Look Like?

Take a moment and think about this with me. Imagine…

Talking to someone each week about the progress you want to see in your life. You’ll be more motivated to follow through and accomplish what you said you would do.

Sitting with someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself.

Often a coach will see potential in you and reflect that back to you each session, encouraging you to see the person you want to be and the steps you’re taking toward that goal.  

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Coming up with an actionable plan to move forward… a plan that you’ve designed. Instead of wondering what to do next or feeling stuck, you’ll come up with next steps so that you’re moving from dreaming to doing.  

A coach checking in with you the following week to see how the plan went. And when you say, “not so well,” the coach will ask you what stood in the way of you taking action this week. Then they’ll help you to formulate a new plan of action based on the new learnings you’ve had from this week.

Why Coaching?

I’ve seen people get amazing results through coaching… 

Like improved relationships where people were transitioning out of an unhealthy relationship into healthy relationships…

Or women starting thriving businesses…

I’ve seen women transitioning from stay-at-home moms into a new career…

Or women excelling in their present work or home conditions because of a mindset shift…

All because of the difference coaching made in their lives.

How To Get The Most From Coaching

If you’re considering coaching, here are three things you need to know in order to get the most out of your sessions:

Most importantly, you need to have the desire and motivation to change.

If you’re not ready to make changes, then you’re not ready for a coach. Coaching provides an amazing growth environment, but ultimately, the growth comes from your motivation to reach your goals.

Second, you need to be committed to the coaching process. Growth and change don’t happen overnight. The coaching process works. Hands down. I believe in it 100%. But if you’re looking for a quick fix solution, then coaching is not the right place for you.

And finally, you need to come prepared for each session. It’s not enough to just show up and expect the magic to happen. Instead, you need to be ready to think deeply and be prepared for the transformation that will happen throughout the coaching process.  

There are amazing possibilities through coaching.

What Is A Counsellor?

A counsellor is a trained professional that can give you guidance on personal, social and psychological problems.

What’s The Difference Between Counselling And Coaching?

One main difference between a counsellor and a coach is that they will typically guide you toward healing by looking back, in particular into family of origin issues or past events.

Whereas a coach will focus on the present and future to help you achieve your goals.

What Does A Counsellor Do?

A counsellor can help you when you’re struggling with severe psychological challenges, such as mood disorder, mental health issues, trauma, etc. Typically, they’ll direct the sessions, determine the path and assign exercises and assignments for you to complete.  

Who Can Benefit From A Counsellor?

Some issues that a counsellor can help you with that a coach isn’t equipped to help you deal with include…

  • Mood disorders (depression, anxiety, etc)
  • Personality disorders
  • Mental health issues (suicide, etc)
  • Severe grief or loss
  • Trauma
  • Severe stress
  • Addictions
  • Abuse
  • Severe parenting issues
  • Extremely difficult family relationships

If you’re dealing with any of these issues, then working with a counsellor is the best course of action rather than seeking out a coach.

How To Know If You Need A Coach Or A Counsellor

After reading everything above, it’s possible that you’re still not sure. For instance, maybe you’re no longer struggling with major depression but you don’t know if a coaching relationship will be the most helpful for you.

So go through the questions below that will help you decide what’s the next best step for you (because in the end, you’re the one who knows what’s best for you!)…

(NOTE: If you answer yes to any of the questions, then please seek the help of a professional counsellor or another professional that’s trained to give you the help you need.

If you answer no, then continue on to the next question.)

#1. Have you had any suicidal thoughts during the past six months?

#2. Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness or a mood disorder AND are currently struggling with that mental illness or mood disorder?

#3. Over the past three months, have you found it difficult to get out of bed in the morning?

#4. Have you ever struggled with an addiction (ie; alcohol, drugs, pornography, cutting, anorexia, bulimia, etc)?

YES – then I require for you to be clean or in recovery for at least 6 months before seeking to work with me as a coach.

NO – then continue on to the next question.

#5. Are you currently dealing with or processing through a traumatic event?

#6. Are you currently in an abusive relationship (ie; emotionally, physically, sexually or spiritually, etc)?

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When To Transition From Counselling To Coaching

While you’re dealing with any of the issues listed under the “Who Can Benefit From A Counsellor” section, it’s best to continue working with a professional counsellor who is trained to help you with these challenges. 

However, after you’ve worked through those issues, you may want to transition to working with a coach.

Or, of course, if you’re looking to take your growth to the next level and none of the mental health issues apply to you, then working with a coach is a great next step.

The coaching relationship is a powerful one that can help you grow in areas where you’re feeling stuck at the present time and you need to move forward in your life.

What’s Your Next Step?

So if you’re ready to ask and answer the question, “What do I want my future to look like?” then I would love to have a conversation about how I can help you to reach your goals.

Click here to book a FREE 30-minute no obligation discovery call with me today and we can see if it might be a good fit to work together.

Hopefully, this post has answered your questions about the difference between coaching and counselling. But if you still have more questions, I’d love to chat with you to help you decide. You can reach me here.  

About Ann

Ann’s work is centred on the belief that every woman has purpose. So her mission is to empower a community of women to live their extraordinary lives with joy…

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Ann Visser


Mindset Coach

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