Coaching, Counseling, Therapy, Consulting – What’s the Difference?

Filed Under (NLP life coaching) on 01-02-2010

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What are the differences between coaching, counselling therapy, consulting? And how do you know which approach is best for you? 

Many a person interchanges the terms coaching and counselling, but they’re not the same thing.  And even more people are still confused about the subtle but powerful difference between coaching and counselling.  And then there’s therapy, consulting, teaching…. and more. So what are the differences? 


starts in the present and looks into the future. It operates on the levels of behaviour and capability. Coaching asks what and how to improve. It helps a person to improve his or her performance. Coaching is observing the person and giving him/her feedback. The feedback inspires the person to think in new ways. If the person implements the new ways into his/her life, s/he will inevitably improve. Coaching asks what and how the person will do to be and do better. It doesn’t give the person answers. On the contrary, coaching encourages the person to find answers.


starts in the past and looks into the present. It assists a person by giving advice on how to resolve his/her problems. Since counseling starts in the past and looks into the present, it asks where problems started and gives advice about what to do to resolve them. 


gives answers and solutions to a problem. 


passes on advice of a person who has been there before. It usually happens in a less formal way. 


melts blocks, repairs defects, relieves disorders. Therapy does not emphasize what a person should do and how s/he should take action. Thinking of massage therapy will help you. A masseur does not tell you what you should do. He simply massages. The massage melts the blocks in your muscles and the result is that you feel relief. 


passes on advice and knowledge of a person who has been there before. It is similar to mentoring. The difference between training and mentoring is that mentoring is less formal and usually done one to one or in small groups. Training is usually more formal and generally done in larger groups. Training entails teaching, because it passes on advice and knowledge. Mentoring entails more counselling, because it passes on advice more than knowledge. 


develops thinking and capabilities. It therefore concentrates on what a person should do and how s/he should do it. 

Now you know the difference between coaching, counselling, therapy, consulting…

…and will hopefully start using the words correctly.  And even explain the differences between the roles to confused people. I will very gladly tell you more about coaching – with NLP. 

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coaching, counselling, therapy, consulting - what is the difference?



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