Coach vs Counsellor / Psychologist – What is the difference?
Recently, I had an amazing discussion with a potential client. We talked about everything she wanted to achieve, and we set goals for the year and actionable plans to achieve those. Following the meeting I sent out a confirmation email about all that we had discussed and named my fees. The question was, “Would I be covered by Medicare*? I have never paid for a counsellor or a psychologist.”
While this was a legitimate question, I have been asked this way too often to ignore that I need to clarify a few differences between coaches, counsellors, and psychologists.
Counsellors help their clients with a wide range of issues that can range from emotional distress to adjustment issues. Usually, they are distressed about something that has not worked out in their lives that they are unable to talk to their family or friends about. Counselling can typically be short term process. They usually deal with immediate issues that the client might be facing due to some behavioural shortcomings.
Psychologists are usually trained to explore various psychological aspects of their client’s issues. They use psychotherapy techniques to get to its root cause. They can collaborate with counsellors or choose to use counselling techniques in conjunction with psychotherapy. The profession of psychotherapists and psychologists is highly regulated in Australia and at times requires the GP (General Practitioner) to refer you to one. As a result of this high level of regulation, their fees can sometimes be claimed through Medicare or through your Private Health Insurance.
The International Coaches Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment.”
As such Coaches respect the fact that the client is an expert when it comes to their own lives and quite capable of navigating themselves in the world. However, most of us sometimes, are unable to really solve some of the issues that we might be facing in personal or professional life
Keeping this in mind, coaches will:
- Have an open and candid conversation with their client about the specific goals that they wish to achieve through a process of self – discovery.
- These goals are then broken down into small actionable bite sized chunks through client led strategy.
- The coach will keep the clients responsible and accountable to the actions that the clients have set out for themselves.
- Coaching is more action oriented and leans a lot on performance and results that are tangible and measurable.
- Coaching is a choice that the client makes to make their lives better and since the coaching profession is not regulated and does not need a general practitioner’s referral it cannot be claimed on Medicare.
In conclusion, coaching focuses on the present and the future of the client while helping them move on from their past baggage. Counselling and psychotherapy will concentrate a lot on the past and find the causes of their present issues in what may have occurred in the past.
Coaching is usually accessed by individuals that have used counselling or psychotherapy and then want to achieve the optimal level of satisfaction in their lives. Yet, according to Maslow only 10% of individuals reach the full potential or are fully satisfied with who they are.
So, would you like to be a part of the top 10%? If yes, how can you get there?
The answer is simple, by taking action. We all have the ability to grow and better ourselves and a coach / mentor can help you get there.
*Medicare – Australian Government health care.