What’s the Difference Between Counselling and Life & Business Coaching?

A friend asked me recently ‘what is the difference between life coaching and counselling?’ That is a really tough question, so I decided to write about my own experience of being counselled and coached. In my opinion both are equally useful but they suit people who are in different situations faced with different choices. I am a Counsellor and a Life & Business Coach based in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford and I enjoy helping others to find their own paths. In brief someone who needs counselling may be suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, grief or want to end their own life. They need to deal with the present and work often just getting through the day. Coaching is about the inspiring a person about their own future, but instead of putting goals on the long finger it is about making the future NOW.

Counselling is about providing a therapeutic non-judgemental space where someone can face their difficulties in a deep emotional way and move out of crisis and get on with their lives. It may mean looking at present difficulties and facing them. The difficulties might stem from a childhood incident, anxiety, depression, their position in the family, a trauma from the past that was not dealt with, a tragic loss or bereavement, living in a desperate or violent situation.

  • It can be the ‘straw that just broke the camel’s back’, that last thing on a long list of things.
  • It is about needing to change.
  • To begin healing.
  • It is often about forgiveness or coming to terms.
  • It is about living anew and finding a new path because the old one was no longer an option.
  • Looking at life from a new perspective.
  • A deeply affecting change.
  • It is about finding hope and light where there was only hopelessness and darkness.
  • Finding that beauty within.

Life & Business Coaching
People come to coaching because of a feeling of dissatisfaction in their lives. Something is not quite right, something is missing. Coaching is turning ideas into decisions, then into action, and finally learning from that action. Fear can often keep us from changing. It is our own fears that keep us prisoner AND we are the jailers. Fortunately this means we have the key. Coaching is about experiencing change and embracing it.

So let me ask you a coaching question; What would you do if you were not afraid? This question is very powerful and can often cause a conflict. Initially there will be an honest flash of a desire, something like ‘help others’, ‘find love’, ‘change career’, ‘go to college’, ‘volunteer in the community’, ‘travel’, or ‘write a book’. Then there will be the voice of fear (the internal saboteur). This voice that might say ‘don’t be silly I’m not afraid’, ‘that’s a stupid question’, ‘I’m too busy’, or ‘what does he know?’ Really though ‘what is stopping you?’ Change is the only consistent thing in the universe, and is a good thing (although at the time we may not think so!) and although we do not have control over all the changes in our lives we do have control of our own attitude.

When change happens to us, we can feel betrayed, powerless and helpless. Often we can get stuck. We can fool ourselves into thinking that where we are now is the most secure place to be. We might ask ‘why me?’, ‘who has done this to me?’ The only way out is to move with the change. Moving can be daunting and even then we may not achieve what exactly it is we want immediately. However oddly enough from my own personal and professional experience as soon as I make the decision and take action and begin to move, I feel better.

The reason is simple in life coaching it is the journey that is important, the destination is secondary.

If you need counselling or life & business coaching contact Michael Fitzgerald (Adlerian Counsellor and Life & Family Coach MBACP, MBPS, MANI) at the Dungarvan Counselling Centre.

About Michael Fitzgerald

As a member of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, The Adlerian Society (UK), the Eating Disorder Resource Centre of Ireland, and as a registered psychologist with the British Psychological Society Michael Fitzgerald adheres to their ethics, principles and guidelines.

Contact Information

Dungarvan Counselling Centre,
Michael Fitzgerald,
Dungarvan, Co. Waterford,

Phone: (058)24579

Mobile: (087)6387424

Email: dungarvancounselling@gmail.com

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