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What makes coaching different from therapy and counselling? What skills to look out for in a coach.

I would like to clarify for people how coaching is different from therapy and counselling so everyone can choose the right treatment for their problem. Hope this blog article will clarify that and help people understand these definitions better.

What makes coaching different from therapy and counselling?

Coaching, counselling and therapy may often be confused, however, there are clear distinctions between them such as the focus of practice or expertise, orientation or target group. These three practices all shares points in common as well. For instance, they all create a positive healing relationship between the coach, counsellor, therapist and the client although there are more similarities between counselling and therapist.

Coaching is action-orientated and aims to help set and achieve goals for mentally well people to function at a higher level. Coaching focuses on the potential of the coachee in the present and future time and works with clients. Coaching is a long or short term process designed to help ambitious achievers meet the outcomes that will bring them success and fulfilment. Coaches certification is not regulated so you will most likely meet a coach with multiple courses and diplomas as well as practical/life experience and different practices.

Counselling, on the other hand, is coping orientated and aims to help heal wounds, treat mental health disorders focus on being at peace within in the past and present time. Counsellors work with patients and it's a slower process that attempts to identify live history or sources affecting behaviour and heal the past for a better future. A counselling licence and MSC or PhD degrees are required.

Finally, therapy is coping orientated and has the same aims as counselling does, which is to heal wounds, treat mental health disorders. Therapy focuses on helping explore the subconscious mind behaviour and patterns in the past and present and works with patients. Therapy is a long term process that aims to recover from past traumas surviving the loss of someone or something. A therapist is required to be licensed and to have an MSC or PhD degree.

Counsellors and therapists share much in common in contrast to coaches, for instance, counsellors and therapists are trained in understanding human behaviour and the subconscious mechanism that affects the psychological well being of a person, the coach, on the other hand, is trained in effectively helping their mentally well functioning clients in achieving specific goals and inspiring motivation.

Counsellors and therapists are licensed to explore the past and the present while the coach is focused on the present and the future. The following explains the differences and commonalities between the therapy and life coaches, according to Tony Robbins, International Coach.

As mentioned earlier therapists need a master or PhD degree. While coaches do not need certification as they do not treat mental illness but rather seek the client's cooperation in the achievement of their goals. However, the commonalities between the therapist and coaches show that they all need communication skills, and build trust and rapport with each client (coach) and patient (therapist).

Coaching is a non-directive practice. The role of each coach is not that of a trainer; nor is that of a consultant; nor that of a mentor; nor that of a tutor. A coach is the one who through the formulation of questions, applying reality criteria and appropriate follow-up strategy facilitates the learning of new ways of solving problems through actions. This achieves an expansion of the client's vision that helps him or her gain increasing autonomy and this is achieved by provoking growing curiosity in the client, asking questions, making suggestions when needed and facilitating the learning of new ways to solve problems.

A coach helps and guides the client to set goals and achieve them, provides focus and obtain results effectively and efficiently. Provides tools support and structure to achieve their goals

and elicits the client to act and critically think towards the achievement of their goals.

What a coach doesn't do: is give the solution to the problem behaves as a therapist, counsellor, trainer or best friend, involving their personal life to give advice and thus bias their work, explore the past experience of the client, get involved in trying to fix the clients life.

My personal opinion is that everyone can benefit from a coach in their life and that includes the coaches themselves.

Here is what people say and some statistics about corporate coaching experiences:

Research from the Chartered Management Institute 2002 has shown that wellness coaching practice in the UK has helped employees achieve their goals in three months rather than a normal year.

80% of executives that have acquired coaching services claimed they need more of these services in their companies. Another study by ICF (International Coaching Federation), applied to wellness coached employees claimed that 62% has faster and better achievement of their goals and more clarity in the decision. 52% believe they have higher self-esteem and 57% lowered the level of stress. In addition, 47% indicated that they consider themselves more productive and earn more after coaching sessions.

And just to make sure you can easily choose the right coach here is what you should look out for.

According to the ICF (International Coaching Federation), a coach has several key career characteristics and skills that make him or her an effective and successful coach.

These are located vocational assets that any coach should have such as:

- Coherence

- Commitment

- Rapport

- Active listening

- Emotional intelligence

- Empathy

- Intuition

- Powerful questioning skills

- The ability to give feedback inspiration and motivation

Apart from all the skills, an effective coach needs to be open, tolerant and accommodating in order to have an open conversation during the coaching session. Coaches need to be culturally mindful of others, inspire and motivate.

I hope this blog article will help you understand better the differences between a coach, counsellor and therapist and help to choose the right professional for you.

However, don't forget that an effective and successful coach may only pertain to 50% of the effective coaching relationship. The other 50% corresponds to the client engagement in the coaching process. So be a coachable client. :-)


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