Coaching or counselling?

Things in your life are not good and need to change. Do you need counselling or would coaching be a better choice? 

If you have become unwell or are worried about your health your GP is your first port of call. You may be referred for counselling which may be provided by the NHS. You can also refer yourself to a counsellor which would be self-funded. 

Coaching is also a self-referral and is self-funded although some coaches offer pro bono services in certain circumstances. 

If you have experienced counselling especially long term and no longer feel you are making progress it may be helpful to look at what coaching can offer. 

Similarities between coaching and counselling

  • Both are aimed at improving the well-being of an individual.
  • Both encourage the individual to review where they are and increase understanding of themselves.
  • Both can be delivered in one to one or group settings.


  • Is for everyone it is not therapy.
  • Is empowering. When we find our own answers it builds confidence and self-belief.
  • Is forward looking: where do you want to be? How are you get there?
  • Acknowledges the reality of where we are as the place to start the journey.
  • Explores options around ways to move forward with powerful questions and other tools.
  • Helps build skills: these can be applied in different contexts that enable self-coaching in the future.
  • Involves taking action.
  • Helps us see things differently in a positive, forward looking way. 
  • Helps us to hold ourself to account, reviewing and reflecting on what actions we chose to take and how we are getting on. 
  • Improves quality of life: personal and professional.

Frequency of sessions? 

  • Counselling is usually every week over a period of several months and may continue for years
  • Coaching frequency varies depending on your needs. For many it is monthly.
  • Many clients will be happy to move on after six sessions having built skills to practice.
  • Some clients may continue monthly, some drop down to every few months or once or twice a year.

Quite often in life there is no one correct answer. What is appropriate right now many not be what you need in the future. You are the expert in yourself. Working cooperatively with professionals is important but the only person who really knows what you need is you. 

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

Share this article with a friend
Show comments

Find a coach dealing with Personal development

All coaches are verified professionals

All coaches are verified professionals

Related Articles

More articles