Coaching or Counseling?


Q.  I have a hectic schedule. Can I receive coaching services over the phone?

A.  You sure can!  In fact, most of my coaching services are offered as a convenient phone option for my clients. This way you can schedule your session at your convenience – over your lunch hour, or in the early morning or evening – from the comfort of your home or office.
Q.  Is there a difference between coaching and counseling?

A.  Yes. Basically, counseling reaches into the past to help solve painful issues, while coaching takes you from where you are to where you want to be. If you’re not sure which category you fall into Geri will be glad to determine that for you during your initial conversation as well as answer any questions you have. (Geri offers pastoral counseling (or Christian counseling) services as well as coaching sessions.) Read the article below to learn more. 


The Difference Between Coaching and Counseling 

Coaching is not about your past; its about your present and future.

We can all learn from history. While counseling reaches into the past to help solve painful issues, coaching takes you from where you are to where you want to be. Virtually all individuals can benefit from coaching in some area of their life (personal development, relationships, parenting, career, others).

To help answer this question more specifically, below is an excellent article (mildly condensed) written by Dwight Bain, Executive Director of International Christian Coaching Alliance (ICCA), addressing the differences between counseling and coaching.

Article by Dwight Bain:


“Here are the differences

between these two powerful professions:

  • Counseling is more focused on solving painful problems from the past
    • Coaching is more about finding creative ways to reach your potential in the future
  • Counseling guides clients toward experiencing relief through recovery
    • Coaching is driven by one word – results in people’s lives
  • Counseling helps people to build supports to stabilize their life
    • Coaching guides clients toward strategic ways to maximize their life
  • Counseling develops healthy emotions and relationships to experience peace 
    • Coaching builds healthy patterns with accountability to experience personal power


Counseling has been recognized as a life-changing experience for millions of people through the decades. Christian Counseling became popular by the 1970’s from the teaching of pioneers like Clyde Narramore, Ed Hindson, Tim LaHaye and James Dobson. These men were dedicated to showing the world that there was a difference between secular psychology and Biblical guidance. They laid the foundation for the next generation of leaders in Christian Counseling; Paul Meier, Frank Minirth, Steve Arterburn, June Hunt, Henry Cloud, John Townsend and Tim Clinton. Biblically based counseling has a 40-year history of success in North America and around the world.”

Dwight Bain adds, “Christian Counseling is rooted in God’s word because the Bible has many references to show the value of searching out wise counsel. One of my favorite verses to illustrate this is Proverbs 24: 5-6, which states, ‘A man of knowledge increases strength; and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.’ Wise people seek out wise counselors to grow stronger.

So what about Christian Coaching? This discipline hasn’t been around as long as Christian Counseling, but the Bible has a lot to say about maximizing and stretching to reach your God-given potential. Listen to the theme of these scriptures as you meditate about the importance of building lasting success from a solid biblical foundation.

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
– Joshua 1:7

May God give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
– Psalms 20:4

Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
– 1 Chronicles 22:13

If you want to experience this kind of biblical success you must have other people to challenge you to become God’s best–people who will take on the role of becoming like ‘Iron sharpening Iron’ (Proverbs 27:17) to stretch and develop you to reach your potential. Christian Coaching provides that extra push because of the rapid results that occur when someone is on track with a trusted guide focused on helping them rapidly reach their goals.  (A professional Life Coach is specifically trained in these areas.)

“Coaching is a new way to help people live out the biblical challenge from King Solomon given in Proverbs 15:22:  ‘Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.’”

– Dwight Bain, Executive Director of ICCA (International Christian Coaching Alliance),
a division of American Association of Christian Counselors
Twitter: @DwightBain