Coaching, Counseling, and Consulting

Pat Williams of the Institute for Life Coach Training has said: “Traditional therapy will not become extinct but will increasingly offer help primarily to those who need clinical services. Therapy is about uncovering and recovering, while coaching is about discovering.”

Therapy tends to be about addressing clinical issues, and frequently focuses on the past, whereas coaching tends to be about creating a desirable future. In general, clients come to therapy to address a dysfunction in their lives but come to coaching because they’re looking for something more out of an already functional life.

However, there’s considerable overlap. Some life coaches work with clinical populations; there are ADHD coaches, relationship coaches, and recovery coaches. But counselors who use a solution-focused approach to therapy work in a manner that’s very similar to the coaching approach.

Coaching is about the client setting goals, and coming up with a plan to reach them; the coach helps the client define those goals and come up with a plan and helps the client stay accountable, but the client’s defining the goals and plan. Coaching focuses on the process. Consulting, on the other hand, focuses on delivering information to the client. The consultant is the expert, and the client is paying the consultant for that expertise.

As your coach, there may be information that I believe could be helpful to you in the goal-setting and planning process. So there may be aspects of our work together that resemble consulting. If in the course of our work it appears there are issues that are blocking you from making progress toward your goals, I may suggest that working with a counselor might be beneficial. I can help you find a counselor if you choose to do so.

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