Google the question 'Is coaching different from counseling?' and in 13 seconds, 13,700,000 results are returned containing widely differing conclusions. From my perspective, depending on the therapeutic model from which the counselor approaches his or her work, the two approaches can look remarkably similar. The reason I utilize both coaching and counseling in my practice, is that I believe clients can benefit from both approaches at different times during our work together.
Some clients initially seek support in achieving a well-identified goal and we enter into a coaching relationship. Others may want help in dealing with feelings of anxiety or depression that might arise following a diagnosis of a chronic disease such as multiple sclerosis. This interaction would begin as a counseling relationship. At some point, the coaching client may want to explore the underlying cause of a block they have encountered and the counseling client may identify a goal they want to achieve. While it is usually not effective to work on coaching or counseling issues at the same time, both can be handled within the context of this practice.
Another way to look at this is that my clients come to me to develop self-awareness, to make change in their lives or to better understand their own potential. We use whatever tools are needed to make those changes a client wants or chooses to make. If something in their past keeps the client from being successful now, then we will look at their past. If the client wants their future to look different, we will look at today to see where changes need to be made. If the client is sad or anxious, we will look at ways to eliminate those difficulties. This is typically called solution focused therapy, but it works just as well when it's called solution focused coaching. With this kind of work, my client chooses our direction, chooses the goals, and decides when he or she has achieved as much as is desired at that point in time.