I know that many of the people I work with have concerns about what other people would think if they knew that they were seeing a counsellor. Some people prefer to say that are using a coach. I understand why they would wish to do that and I have no issues with it - because it is true.
Whilst I was training to be a counsellor, and as an NLP Practitioner, I was also training to be a coach with the UK’s leading coach training organisation - The Coaching Academy. The training involved hundreds of hours of peer and assessed coaching, several residential weekends and tens of thousands of words of written work. The training lasted 18 months and I passed with a distinction.
I have no doubt in my own mind that my training as a coach significantly enhances my abilities as a counsellor and vice-versa and both help me to be more useful to the people I work with, both as a coach and as a counsellor.
Is it true that counselling is about the past and coaching about the future?
There is a popular misunderstanding that counselling is exclusively concerned with things that have happened in the past whereas coaching is exclusively about the future. This is far from the truth.
What is common to both is a desire on the part of someone to change things for themselves and you can be much better at that if you have an understanding of how you think, what you feel, what you believe about yourself and about the world, and what influences and motivates you.
This doesn’t mean that as a coaching client or a counselling client that you have to revisit or even think about earlier formative experiences but becoming more self-aware, more aware of what influences you and knowing how your brain works can certainly make achieving your goals much easier.
Whether you like to see yourself as coaching or a counselling client, it’s changing what you believe about yourself that's important because it's changing what you believe about yourself that helps you change what you feel and are able to do in the future.
Since I’ve been working in private practice I’ve had the privilege to work with people from the ages of 14 to 94; from multi-millionaires to people who have had barely enough money to survive and what’s been common to all of them is that they have all wanted something to be different, they have all decided to take control of their lives and do what's right for them.
Coaching or counselling? They're both about personal change. It's the same brain with the same mechanisms for forming and changing beliefs, the same mechanisms for establishing and breaking behavioural and thought habits.
So you're looking for a coach? I don't know if it's overwhelmingly important to you what other people think about you, or if you're sufficiently self-accepting to do what you feel is right for you regardless of the opinions of others. You decide.