By Simone Cormack

When searching for help to find the right way forward, you might decide to look for a coach or find a counselor. But which one is right for you? We are going to take a look at the differences here, to help you understand which is best.

What do they help you with?

The first difference between the two methods is what kind of things they will help you with. First of all, a counselor will usually help you with thinking, behavioral, or emotional problems that you may have. These could have been caused by an illness, a trauma, or some kind of imbalance  – usually, they come from a force which you cannot control. On the other hand, a coach will help you to grow or improve in any area of your life, in which you are not held back by the problems described above. In other words, if you want to change your lifestyle, reach success, or take control of your life, then a coach is best for you. If you have emotional issues caused by the way you interact with the world in general, then a counselor is needed.

Woman Having Counselling Session

Woman Having Counselling Session

How can you measure their help?

Another difference between the two approaches is how the help they give is measured. For a counseling session, you may not immediately see obvious benefits. They are more internalized – usually relating to your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Usually you are the only one who can judge whether they have helped you. Coaches are much more measurable in their approaches. They set goals which are largely visible: gaining new skills, getting a promotion or new job, or earning more money, for example. A life coach will help you to improve your life through smaller, manageable steps leading to bigger goals. A coach can always be judged on whether or not these goals are achieved.

How do you interact with them?

With a counselor, there is little discussion about them: the focus is on you. They will talk about your problems, and rarely feel the need to talk about their own lives. The impetus is completely different with a coach. In this case, the coach’s life and experiences can absolutely have a positive effect on your own. The coach is likely to share personal experience and advice to help you on your way.

How are they qualified?

Counselors normally have qualifications from their government or state, which means that they may have difficulty counseling you over longer distances – for example, via Skype sessions. On the other hand, coaches will find their best qualifications from the life experiences that they have had. If you were trying to succeed as an entrepreneur, then a coach who is themselves a successful and well-established entrepreneur would be your best bet.

Which do I need?

If you are trying to recover completely from a past hurt, then counseling is definitely right for you. If you have problems with anger or depression, then it could also help you to move on and be better in yourself. If, on the other hand, you wish to work towards achieving your life goals, then a coach is best for you. A coach will help you to succeed to the best level you can, in your relationships, your life, your work, and other areas that you wish to focus on.
What it comes down to is what you feel you need help with, and why. For the majority of people, a coach is the right choice to help you move forward in life to the best of your abilities.

Simone Cormack
Simone Cormack is a blogger and Content Manager, absolutely passionate about self-growth and self-improvement. She currently supports Zintel, a telecommunications service provider from Sydney. Simone spends her free time traveling and learning about foreign cultures.