Therapeutic Coaching

Having had a personal interest for over 20 years in counselling and therapy, and then discovering coaching, I am aware that many coaches and counsellors see their work as completely separate. If you train to become a coach, then you can only coach; if you’re a qualified counsellor, then you can provide counselling services and therapy, but not coaching. Generally speaking, counsellors and therapists help their clients to deal with what has happened to them in the past. Coaches help their clients to move forwards. But what happens if you’re working with a coach and you find that there are issues from your past that are slowing you down, or blocking you from moving forwards? Do you have to stop coaching and work with a counsellor instead? For many people, this could be what happens.

However, for some time I’ve recognised how comfortable I am in the place in which counselling and coaching merge, where they work together. My coaching training was so holistic that it gave me a level of counselling skills that I don’t think most coaches receive. There is huge benefit in supporting clients to deal with their ‘baggage’ from the past before I can enable them to move forwards. This is about coaching the whole person, rather than just dealing with specific issues. Clients need someone who can safely explore and handle their past issues and still support them to move on – someone who can deal with whatever comes up, see what’s blocking you and nurture the courage to make the changes you want in your life.

It’s possible to move between coaching and counselling more than once in a single session. Depending on each of my clients’ issues and preferences, some of our sessions will be spent working either therapeutically or in a coaching mode; more often I will use a combination of the two techniques. The exact combination depends entirely on the individual client and what they want to work on. Moving between the two disciplines is transparent and not obvious to my clients.

I believe that it is important to work with both disciplines of coaching and counselling in order to make real, sustainable change. I also think that it is immensely powerful for clients to have the opportunity to do this work with one person – a single relationship with someone who can combine coaching and counselling – rather than having to look for two different experts.


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