4 responses to “Coaching, counseling, mentoring and consulting – what’s the difference?”

  1. There’s interesting recent aspects of the boundaries between the terms. I’m hearing that the field of counseling (which has many different philosophies, of course) is moving to more strength-based approaches based on going from the client’s present to the future (like coaching) and less treatment based on analysis of the clients past. So from that aspect, counseling and coaching are becoming similar. Also, I’m hearing that mentors are more successful with mentees when they incorporate coaching into their styles of guiding and supporting mentees. So that’s another example of where the line is blurred. Finally, consultants can be quite effective in guiding major change when they resort to more facilitative styles and less expert-based styles. Many people might assert that the style of coaching is a facilitative style. So the lines here are becoming blurred, too.

  2. Thanks for your insight. I agree the lines are blurring. Many consultants are using an “interactive consulting” style which incorporates a “coach approach”. Many coaches are including consulting and offer more ideas, solutions, options, or advice. It is important for coaches to know their boundaries/limitations and follow the ICF Code of Ethics “I will suggest my client seek the services of other professionals when deemed necessary or appropriate. “

  3. Clear distinctions about the various ‘helping’ professionals provide needed services to identified individuals. I particularly agreed with the differences listed for counseling. Providing such information makes for intelligent consumers.

  4. I am a doctoral student looking for suggestions for either articles or books specifically addressing ethical dilemmas within mentoring?