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What's the difference between coach, mentor & counsellor?

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

When considering outside support, it can be helpful to understand some basic differences between a coach, a counsellor and a mentor. Each play equally important roles depending on what any of us are grappling with in life.


A counsellor focuses largely on the past and the ‘why’ with the intention of healing. Traumas and past hardships can be discussed in detail during a session, childhood experienced can be analysed, and areas such as disorders, anxiety and depression can be worked on so that the client may heal, accept or hold on less tightly to the past and to find personal freedom. A counsellor/client relationship can be long term, and usually requires a lot of sessions, generally in the same location.


A mentor will generally engage into a long-term ongoing relationship with their client, where they will pass on details from their experiences, giving advice and suggestions. This is usually focusing towards a career goal. The relationship can be informal, with ad hoc guidance and advice provided as needed.


A coach will listen, ask questions and not give advice. Believing that the client has the answers withing, a coach will mainly ask questions, to supp the client in finding the true meaning behind their goals. Sessions are agenda focused, with communication available in person or over the phone/video.


The coach may interrupt the client. While a counsellor might listen at length to a client talk the coach may interrupt the client to guide them back to the agenda, in the overall goal of honouring their full potential.


A coach may use coaching tools. By building an authentic relationship and combining with useful coaching tools, the coach will explore the client’s resources, inside and out by doing ‘reality checks’ to help the client see how they can best move forward. By using tried and tested coaching tools and agendas, the likelihood of ‘aha’ moments, and genuine transformation being evoked is high.


If you're thinking about getting some help, and aren't sure of the best next step, please get in touch and we can discuss the above further.



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