Coaching or Counselling?

Traditional approach to differentiate these two fields is to see coaching as future (goal) oriented and counselling as the past-oriented discipline. In reality, both may focus on past and or future but with slightly different background and perspective. Coaches do not need to understand the psychology of the client and will not create a diagnosis. Each client is seen as resourceful, creative and whole, even when obstacles seem too big to move forward and sometimes trigger insights on how the past experiences influence limiting beliefs. Wellness and Life Coaching will often touch on the issues that can be discussed in counselling too. When a client has an earlier diagnosis (depression, bipolar, suicidal tendencies etc.) it is advised to use coaching and counselling together with the two professionals sharing their approach.

In reality, anybody can start coaching at any time. Unlike therapists or counsellors, for coaches, it is not necessary to take a formal university course or obtain a coaching degree. However, many coaching schools provide coach accreditation, and one of the internationally renowned organisation is International Coach Federation (ICF website

Coaching ICF definition

Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

  • A professional coaching relationship: A professional coaching relationship exists when coaching includes a business agreement or contract that defines the responsibilities of each party.
  • An ICF Professional Coach: An ICF Professional Coach also agrees to practice the ICF Professional Core Competencies and pledges accountability to the ICF Code of Ethics.

The ICF has three levels of accreditation:

  • Associate Certified Coach — Requires 60 hours of coach-specific training and 100 hours of coaching experience with at least eight clients
  • Professional Certified Coach — Requires 120 hours of coach-specific training and 750 hours of coaching experience with at least 25 clients
  • Master Certified Coach — Requires 200 hours of coach-specific training and 2,500 hours of coaching experience with at least 35 clients

Counselling offers you a safe, confidential place to talk with a trained professional about your life and anything that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable. It’s a very personal process which, when effective, leads to deepening awareness and a degree of emotional resolution. Usually it will take a number of sessions before counselling starts to make a difference. There are different methods and approaches to counselling, however research shows that the relationship with your counsellor is more important to success than which method they use.

Some of the more commonly used methods include: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in which clients are taught ways to change thoughts and expectations with the use of notation and relaxation techniques. Gestalt Therapy, in which the client gains self-awareness by analysing behaviour and body language, talking about their feelings, acting out scenarios and recalling dreams. Psychodynamic counselling, which stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in shaping current behaviour. Psychodynamic counselling is derived from psychoanalysis, but usually provides a quicker solution to emotional problems. Finally, Integrative Therapy uses a combination of these models depending on the client’s needs.

Text about counselling is adapted from the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy,

At the Beijing Mindfulness Centre Dalida Turkovic and Cassie Kang offer coaching and Mia Livingston is offering counselling. For more information please check their profiles.

Practitioner: Dalida Turkovic

Executive Mindfulness Coach

Practitioner: Cassie Yufei Kang

Mindfulness & Wellness Coach

Practitioner:  Mia Livingston

Mindfulness Counselor