Is this a coaching or a counseling issue?
What do you do when you’re coaching someone and you enter into a conversation that has the potential to become a counseling appointment? The two disciplines, coaching and counseling, bleed into each other and it is important to keep clear boundaries.

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus

People approach coaching with various ideas that may or may not line up with what coaching actually is.

Here’s a quick overview of the distinctions between coaching and counseling the two disciplines, taken from an article authored by Linda Miller, a coach and marriage family counselor.

Making Distinctions between Coaching and Counseling

 

Coaching Counseling (traditional model)
Action Understanding and issues
Present to future focus Past to present focus
Create and design Repair and resolve
Expertise lies within person being coached Expertise lies within counselor
Promote discovery Give answers and advice
Future possibilities Past events
What and how Why
Proactive Curative
Achievement Healing
Joy Happiness

Used with permission – Linda Miller, MCC for publication in REV Magazine On Purpose Ministry © April 2003

During this season of adjusting to a new normal in our post-COVID world, it is important to be clear what you’re about. And when clients move into counseling territory on the right side of the chart above and you are not qualified, be aware and refer your client to a qualified counselor.

Clients in Search of Joy

coaching or counseling

I have found this chart to be very helpful in my own coaching experience.  

Years ago a leader I was coaching asked me to help him find ways to discover “joy” in his life.

This really threw me. I wasn’t clear what he was asking, so I asked some questions to clarify what he really wanted.

You see how “joy” fits in the coaching column? After clarifying with my client that he wasn’t asking questions better suited for a counselor, I was able to coach him in the precise way he needed. 

For many leaders, discovering joy is a real challenge today. If you find someone not feeling quite themselves or at a low point, it might be time to have an honest conversation about how things are going. Serving them as a friend could mean having a simple conversation where they feel heard, connecting them to a coach, or, in some cases, encouraging them to seek out counseling.

Coaching Questions to Actionize for Joy

  1. What is the most memorable season of your life that was joyful?
  2. What made it joyful?
  3. How can you learn from that experience and apply in your life today?
  4. If you were able to arrive at a joyful place, how would you celebrate that?
  5. Who would you include?
  6. What do you sense the Lord saying to you about “joy”?
  7. How can you thank the Lord?

Plan to Grow As a Coach

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The Coaching Excellence GrowthTrack combines the best in coach training resources with wisdom from ICF Certified Master Coach, Gary Reinecke and Coaching Pioneer, Bob Logan. 

  • Assess for your strengths and areas for improvement
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  • Implement proven strategies for lasting change
  • Connect with a coach-mentor and peer coaches

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Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Cover Photo Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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