Coaching VS Counselling at the Workplace | Emeritus India

Coaching VS Counselling at the Workplace | Emeritus India | Leadership | Emeritus

One of the key aspects of any workplace is dealing with problems, challenges, and roadblocks. These can happen in two ways: difficulties in delivering performance, meeting future goals and dealing with personal problems. Both might sound quite similar, but the approaches taken to solve them are different. This is where the concept of coaching vs. counselling needs to be considered.
People usually get confused between coaching and counselling at the workplace because they think they are similar. However, that’s not the case. There are significant key differences between coaching and counselling. Therefore, before a person chooses any particular career or wants to know which line will be best for them, it is crucial to know the differences between coaching and counselling at any workplace.
Keeping this in mind, we have illustrated the further differences between counselling and coaching with examples to help you understand more.

Coaching VS Counselling: Definition

Going by the textbook definition, coaching is a way of dealing with employee problems and focusing on improving workplace performance. It usually starts with problems like meeting a goal, unable to find any inspiration at the workplace, not being able to meet the daily requirements, and so on. On the other hand, counselling is more focused on personal problems and usually deals with the real-time issue that a person may be facing.
For example, let’s say an employee cannot understand the company policies or the future goals of a recently rolled-out project. In this case, he should seek coaching from a trainer or his higher lead to understand more about the project’s goals and objectives. On the other hand, let’s assume that an employee is dealing with past traumatic experiences and cannot focus on work due to those issues. For this, he needs to consult a counselor who can extract more information from his past and present solutions to deal with the psychological issues that might interfere with his workplace performance.

Coaching VS Counselling: Focus

Coaching focuses on solving problems that might hamper the individuals’ and the teams’ overall performance, the ability to meet the goals and objectives of a company’s project, the lack of inspiration amongst employees, frustration and annoyance due to continuous failures, and so on. On the contrary, counselling is more inclined towards solving personal problems that might interfere with an employee’s work and performance. It can be any problem from the past, psychological triggers, excessive stress, chronic depression, lack of sleep, and so on.
Here, one should understand that frustration in employees is common in workplaces. However, the approach to be taken depends on the source of frustration. For example, if the employee is frustrated for not understanding the future goals of a project or the way the workflow has been orchestrated, coaching is the right approach to solve this problem. But if the frustration is due to past issues, improper anger management, insomnia, and so on, one should go for counselling to resolve the issue on time.

Coaching VS Counselling: Approach

The approach for coaching is to understand the lack of understanding or knowledge about certain facts of the project, team, and company. Once a coach understands the gap, he formulates different methods to help the employee gather more information and train him for the concerned issue.
But if we consider the approach taken for counselling, it will be more focused on that employee’s past. The counselor usually asks for details about past experiences, traumatic events, suppressed anger, etc. Based on the information, the counselor will decide whether the person has to meditate, take a break from work, etc.

Coaching VS Counselling: Skills and Experience

Coaching is often related to leadership. This is why a person doesn’t need specific key skills and experience in certain domains. Instead, he needs to understand his employees better and motivate and inspire them to work harder to achieve the goals, mitigate the gaps between their knowledge and the project or company requirements, and more.
On the other hand, counselling depends on expert skills and experience in certain domains that will be specific to a person’s psychological state and issues. For instance, a counselor needs to know how the information from a person’s past can be extracted without putting too much pressure on the mind.

Coaching VS Counselling: Objectives

Coaching is more inclined towards developing the overall performance of an individual or the team, reducing the knowledge gap between requirements and skills, motivating and inspiring the individual employee or the team for the greater good, and shaping an individual for future performance. But counselling is focused on solving the past issues of an employee that can have a huge impact on his performance at present.


Indeed, the difference between coaching and counselling is borderline. Still, with some research and studies, you can understand that coaching is all about the present and future, while counselling involves the past and present. Both these approaches are highly recommended at any workplace to ensure employees feel at ease and give their best without worrying about anything.

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