- Written by Annemi Olivier
- Published: 28 Nov 2016
Coaching, advocates helping clients work on their goals for the future whilst creating a successful and balanced life.
Counselling, offers the clients an opportunity to explore, clarify and discover (or re-discover) paths to a fulfilling, satisfying and balanced life; counselling often looks at the past, whereas coaching does not.
However, clearly counselling and coaching have similarities, both focus on the process of helping the client live a more fulfilling life, whether that be in their work or personal life.
So the question remains: Is it ok for a coach to simultaneously counsel a client?
Whilst many will debate me on this point, I firmly believe that if you are trained in both modalities it can be a huge benefit to your client’s success.
Here’s why......... Many people attend counselling because their present life has become unbearable and they can’t see a way forward. They often hope to resolve past issues in order to move forward. Equally, many who seek coaching in some area of their lives, benefit immensely from understanding how they came to this present moment and how they can begin to perform at their optimum. It’s easy to see the overlap.
A skilled and trained counsellor and coach will help a person recognise and make sense of how their past is impacting their current life. Then they work with the client to achieve future goals.
In my position as a business coach, I often have clients who have been sent for executive coaching in leadership by their employee. However, concerns in their personal life (past and current) can often hold them back if they are not addressed. For example, a client whom was sent to me for leadership coaching by her employer shared her personal situation. She said that she had ongoing issues with her father because he believed she should stay at home with the children. They constantly argued about the fact that she had a career that at times took her interstate. She also shared she had always found her father overbearing and this was impacting on her well-being, and her ability to focus on her career. She felt a sense of guilt for going against her father’s wishes. This required past exploration to allow her to make sense of the situation and reframe it more positively, assertively and without guilt. Had I not been both a counsellor and coach I would have needed to refer her, possibly creating further angst for my client. Whilst it took four sessions to understand and work through her relationship with her father, she then went on to be successfully coached in leadership skills. She no longer carried the past guilt into her present reality.
Counselling/coaching clients who have serious mental/emotional problems such as substance abuse, major depression and personality disorders is not appropriate.
Let’s be honest there are times when we all have situations that are just too hard for us to deal with on our own. This doesn’t make us weak, it just is what it is”. Unfortunately, sometimes seeking counselling is viewed as a negative and people often see it as “something is wrong”. A good counsellor/coach understands that we all encounter bumps in the road and that it takes courage to admit that we need guidance in helping us resolve past issues, in order to create a more balanced, and optimised life.
CEO - Jigsaw Consulting Group