Coaching vs. Counseling


January 31, 2013

We're walking through the four main kinds of intentional relationships:  coaching, mentoring, counseling and consulting.  In this post we're going to look at counseling.  

The basic equation goes like this:  Relationship + Intention + (a variable Idea) = (a type of intentional relationship).    In this case, the type of relationship is Counseling.  The distinctive component that sets the relationship as Counseling--the moving part--in this case is Introspection.  

CounselingCounseling as an intentional relationship is distinctive because the key skills (listening, bold questions, and action steps) are all focused on the internal processing by the client.  It could be dealing with life issues, a work situation, or wrestling with whether a person is capable of accomplishing what God is putting in front of them.    

On the most basic level, coaching is about accomplishing a task/outcome or working on character development.  There has to be a healthy focus on the future.  Counseling--at it's most basic level--looks back at what's already happened, and develops strategies for coping in the present moment.

In a CoachNet training event a few years ago, one participant described a working relationship between coaching and counseling like this:  "The Counseling-Coaching Continuum is a fluid line of client development from healing to growing." 

If this is true, coaching and counseling together have a much higher ceiling than either one does on their own.   Think of a continuum from -10 to +10 with a balance point.  Once the client is through the healing phase, the client can attend to purpose and potential.  

That's a pretty solid continuum:  from healing to growing.

So how does coaching work together with counseling in your work?

For more from Jonathan Reitz, please click here.

Jonathan ReitzJonathan Reitz has a number of impressive titles at CoachNet Global (Chairman/CEO/Guy with Coffee).  Jonathan has been coaching since 1996 and has worked with over 500 clients in the church, the non-profit sector and the business world. 

  “Coaching plays a part in the kind of leadership the world needs,” says Jonathan Reitz.  “I want to be a part of that.”

Contact Jonathan Reitz at or by phone at 440.550.4374.  Follow him on Twitter @jonathanreitz

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