If you are wondering whether to pursue counseling or coaching, here are some guidelines to help you make the decision. It is not a matter of one professional service being better than the other in a global sense, but of which one best fits your present circumstances, needs and goals. Whereas some professional service providers offer only one modality or the other, StreamTree Associates offers both – and we value both very highly!
Generally, counseling is best at dealing with something that’s wrong: for example, emotional problems such as depression or anxiety, relational problems such as marital discord or a breach of trust, or the ongoing effects of previous traumatic experiences. It is especially focused on healing and recovery.
In coaching, while there may be certain things that are blocking a person’s forward progress, the starting place is not with a “presenting problem,” but with a goal or vision for the future, or a desire to improve one’s life. It is focused on being proactive, setting goals and taking action.
There are seasons and phases in our lives. A person might do best with counseling at one time and with coaching at another. If the need is for emotional healing or to get through a time of feeling overwhelmed, depressed, confused or very anxious, counseling might be the best option. Almost all of us have times in our lives when we feel one or more of those emotions. If we are mainly dealing with overcoming difficult memories or traumatic events in our past, counseling is designed to deal with those issues.
If a person is feeling impaired in his or her work, relationships or emotional life, or if the present need seems to be just to cope, or if a person feels “in survival mode,” counseling may be called for.
On the other hand, if a person’s present focus is oriented toward the future and the need is to design and implement goals, develop strategies, achieve a more balanced life and a better quality of life, coaching may be the best option. If you feel in a frame of mind to make decisions and move ahead (though perhaps not being sure what decisions to make or which direction to move), coaching is an excellent way to get focused and begin to get traction – or to increase your momentum toward a goal you have already been pursuing. Coaching can be a way for people to define their values, identify their strengths, and jumpstart their creativity.
A Season for Every Activity…
An old verse of Wisdom says, “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: …a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance….” There is a season where our need may be counseling (which can be very intense and very freeing), and another where we are ready to more aggressively move ahead with coaching.
If you are still unsure which would be best for you, we would welcome a call from you to discuss your situation and help you decide. It is also possible to switch from one to the other if that becomes appropriate or if your needs change. Finally, in some situations it may be appropriate to do both concurrently.
For further information or for help in deciding whether counseling or coaching is best for you, call us at 081519099558