Understanding the difference between these two modalities is essential in helping you make an informed decision to get the right support you need.
SoulAdvisor offers a number of different kinds of coaches and counsellors. We spoke with a counsellor and a coach to give you some insights into this difference; and about the experience of online sessions.
Desley Creedy is a counsellor in Sydney who integrates the emotional experience and works to support clients towards awakening, strengthening and achieving their fullest sense of self to realise their dreams and goals. Here’s what Desley had to say.
“Counselling involves a lot of reflective work. You’re asking yourself: how did I get here? what’s blocking me from moving forward? what’s in my past that is inhibiting me from moving forward?
“Coaching is also about moving forward but it’s about setting goals, and the strategies and actions you take to do so. Usually you’re feeling okay about life but seeking some guidance to make these plans.
“My work draws on psychotherapeutic methods and is more process oriented - it’s about letting emotions and thoughts come to the surface, as you work through the process, rather than on finding a solution.
“I deal mainly with trauma therapy and my work is to recognise the impact of the trauma, but I often weave in some coaching elements, like showing a client ways to set new strategies, actions and goals every time this trauma gets retriggered.
“My advice is that if someone is in a coaching program and there is a major issue that’s not shifting, that is causing distress or is retriggering trauma, this is an indicator to seek out a counsellor or psychotherapist. They need somebody to do their inner work and reflect on what’s blocking them on a subconscious level.”
“I’ve had great success seeing clients online. They can still drop into deeply felt experiences and achieve that emotional connection. Some actually tend to feel safer not being in the presence of the therapist so they might open up more.
“When you’re working in the same room with someone, everything you do is about sensory motor simulation, so all the senses are engaged. There’s a fullness of being energetically in the presence of another person.
“The access that online counselling brings to people though, is absolutely amazing - it’s everything.”
Elysa Roberts is a certified life coach based in Newcastle, NSW who through her one to one coaching, helps clients reconnect with their inner wisdom, shift their paradigms, clarify their needs, and show up authentically in all areas of their lives.. Here’s what Elysa had to say.
“Most of my clients come to me saying they want to feel and be more confident, find and use their 'voice' and take better care of themselves. They are often in a place of transition, or at a crossroads.
“They might be turning a particular age and they want the next 40 years to be different; or they are no longer fulfilled with the status-quo and want to upgrade their lives; or they’re at a point of difference in where they are confidence-wise and where they want to be. It could be their professional direction or it could be a personal perspective they want to pivot.
“It could be they were typecast in a particular role in the family or their career and they’re tired of it; or many come to me because they’re drained by trying to make their bodies fit an ideal or adhere to people-pleasing - they want to regain body and self regard - they’re tired of trying to ‘shrink or push themselves’ to fit into society.
“I don’t attract clients seeking help to manage their anxiety or mental health. If I do notice someone is notably anxious or depressed, I will be sure to unpack it and could suggest they seek a counsellor in addition or instead of a life coach.
“In fact, it’s critical that coaches are certified because part of your foundational certification as a coach teaches you the difference between counselling and coaching.
“With coaching, the fee structure is completely different - you pay up front, while with counselling you pay after each session. Counselling is more therapeutic.
“People shouldn’t look at coaching as dollars per session - it’s about the value you’re gaining from the whole package.
“The minute you invest in coaching, the energy starts working. You have now elevated your worthiness because you’ve committed and you’ve invested in yourself.“
“I do all my coaching online. Clients can actually be much more selective by being online - they can connect with the coach who directly aligns with them, anywhere in the world.
“It’s also more inclusive, more accessible and more time efficient. You can co-work with your clients through screen sharing, you can make notes as you talk and yet you’re actually eye to eye with each other.
“There’s an intimacy that can be achieved online that is at least equivalent to in person. It can be a remarkably powerful modality.
“Some clients may perceive they have too many distractions at home for online coaching.
“This can be telling - a person deserves to permit themself to have this time and to dedicate it fully to their own growth.”
Before choosing a counsellor, check the Australian Register of Counsellors & Psychotherapists, where all listed practitioners are professionally qualified and must undergo continuing development and clinical supervision.
Before choosing a coach, it is worth checking if the coach is registered with the International Coach Federation Australasia, which offers continuing professional development and requires its members to abide by its Code of Ethics.
Disclaimer: This Content has been developed from our generous global community and is intended for informational purposes only. This Content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon. Further, the personal views and experiences published are expressly those of the author, and do not represent the views or endorsement of SoulAdvisor through the act of publication on our site.