Abintus Coaching Resources

Coaching and counselling lie on the same continuum, along with training and mentoring. Like counselling (therapy) coaching is also seen as a talking therapy. However there is a clear separation between the two of them, with some overlaps. This simple table does a quick comparison of the two.


People frequently ask about the differences between coaching, mentoring and counselling. The former are addressed in other resources.

People see part of their role as managers as being there to help people. My response is that yes absolutely, as a manager you have a duty of care to your employees and coachees. Their organisation expects that of them. As human beings we also similarly want to help others who might be struggling.

I share that managers are responsible for the well being of their employees as it impacts upon their ability and performance in the workplace. However, these managers are not professionally trained qualified counsellors or therapists. These are the people best placed to help people with more personal based concerns. There are boundaries to a coach’s responsibilities.

Many organisations provide access to services of support for employees when it is required. Occupational health, well-being, access to confidential ‘hot lines’ being amongst some of these.

Organisations will have clear processes for line managers to approach HR and seek support and guidance in the first place. This not only makes support immediate, but it also reduces risk to employee, manager and organisation alike.

Coaching and counselling comparisons

Coaching as an approach, allows people to set and achieve goals for themselves to improve their work place performance. The coach engages and facilitates the process with the coach. They do not provide answers but uses the coachee’s own existing skills, knowledge and experiences to move the coachee forward. Coaching is always based in and on workplace situations.

Counselling provides a space for clients to explore who they are and where they are in their lives. It identifies and addresses personal problems and issues. Counselling focuses on the past and the present and looks to ‘treat’ the client. It is used to work on psychological, relationship and personal issues with the clients. Helping clients get in a better place mentally and emotionally when dealing with potentially traumatic events – bereavement, break-ups and divorce. As well as helping deal with  areas such as stress, depression, anxiety and addictions.

The table on this link is taken and adapted from Bruce Peltier’s 2001 book entitled ‘The Psychology of Executive Coaching’.

Whilst a lot of the table is still valid. I have added additions and changes to this based upon contemporary views around coaching, as the profession has researched and evolved.

This will be an evolving document as both entities continue to evolve.

A coach needs to be clear on the difference between both coaching and counselling and where the boundaries lie. In doing so their practice, abilities and service to their coachees develops.