No, Coaching is not the Same as Counseling

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No, Coaching is not the Same as Counseling

By: Terry Burgess, Founder and Men’s Mid-life Coach, Upward MC

I was asked a couple of weeks ago by a friend of mind whom I suggested coaching to help him get on track with making changes with his life “Terry, Isn’t Coaching the same thing as Counseling?”   I answered him and told him a lot of what is included below.   The content below is part of a document I give to every client that I coach before we begin the process.   It helps to develop a starting point for everyone to know what the goals are in the coaching process.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is quickly becoming one of the leading tools and strategies that successful people are using in order to enhance their lives further and allow them to lead extraordinary lives.

The coaching relationship is a partnership – an equal relationship — allowing you room to move yet being accountable so that you can be the kind of person that you would like to be, to achieve the kind of life and work that you would like to have and to achieve the goals that you would like to meet.

What is My Responsibility as a Coach?

  • To clarify and encourage you to set the goals that you really want
  • To ask you to do more than you have probably done on your own
  • To help you to focus better in order to produce results more quickly
  • To provide you with the tools, support and structure to accomplish more

How is Coaching Different from Counselling or Consulting?

Coaching is not counselling or therapy which tends to focus on the past and look at issues historically nor is it consulting which generally involves coming up with expert opinions and answers. However, coaching does use techniques derived from clinical psychology.

Coaching though is more action-oriented and solution-oriented and focuses primarily on both the present and future. The “answers” that you are looking for come about through the work done in our joint coaching partnership.


How I Coach Clients?

As your coach, I will ask questions, encourage, advise, challenge, make requests and listen for your “essence” so that you are consistent with who you are in terms of your goals, your values and your vision. My focus will be upon you and what you want and how you can best get it.

However, the coaching relationship is designed by both of us and may be refined by each of us in the giving and receiving of feedback. Although I am committed to the process, it still remains your personal responsibility to take action (or not take action) as you desire.

1.  I Expect Your Best

The best results are achieved when you are ready to both do and be the best that you can be. It is about stepping up to the challenge and giving it your best shot. If there is a sense in which you may not be giving it your best, it is my job to bring that to you your awareness, so we can work out what you really want to do.

  1. I Make Specific Requests

As the need arises, I will make direct requests such as, “Could you see yourself accomplishing X within the next two weeks”? You could meet the request (“Yes, I can do that”), provide an alternative option (“I can’t do X, but I can do Y”) or perhaps you might decline altogether (which rarely happens). Whichever way you respond though, I will support your action.

  1. I Give Advice

On occasion, if I have a real sense of a particular direction, and you are open to it, I will make specific suggestions on how to handle a problem or an issue or make the most of an opportunity. If I’m not always certain about my suggestion, I will always certainly say so. Regardless, you will need to use your own discretion and judgment.

  1. I Am Open

If for example, I hear a hesitancy in your voice or notice an inconsistency, I will generally ask you about it. Often, it is these moments which permit the opportunity to resolve something that may hold you back from success. Irrespective, I will not confront you. It is only my job to highlight the issue and allow you to do with it what you will.

 5.  I Assign Homework but It Is Your Action Points/Goals to Help You For Success

Typically, I ask you to work out perhaps two or three goals or actions to focus upon between our sessions together. If I am pushing you too hard, then it is important for you to say so. If you want to be pushed harder, it is also important for you to say so.

Please feel free to contact me for a complimentary 45-minute coaching session.  I can help you develop a simple starting point plan to help you get on the road from your “mid-life crisis” to your “mid-life rediscovery and renovation” for your life.  You can visit to schedule you complimentary coaching hour!

Terry is a Personal Leadership and Mid-life Coach for Men with Upward MC in Benton, Kentucky.  He can be contacted via e-mail at  or by phone at 270-493-0967. His website can be found at


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