What is the difference between counseling, coaching and consulting?

Counseling is typically backward focused, aimed at repairing the past. Counseling focuses more on asking questions and helping the client to discover truth and healing over time. Qualification to be a counselor is based on degrees and professional training.

Coaching is forward focused, aimed at growth, but more like counseling in style. Coaching focuses on asking questions to help clients decide for themselves the best path to take. Qualification to be a coach is also based on degrees, certifications and licenses.

Consulting is forward focused, aimed at growth but not at all like counseling or coaching in style. Consulting is highly directional, advising the best path to take to get to a specific goal or outcome. Qualification to be a consultant is based on personal life experience, not degrees or licenses.


Why would someone need a mentor or consultant rather than attend a support group or see a counselor?

Consultants do not replace counselors or support groups as they serve a different purpose. Counseling may still be needed to repair past issues that are unresolved, although a consultant may help in finding the best counselor for specific issues. 

Consultants or mentors can replace a support group if there is not a support group of the type needed, as in the case of parenting or organizations needing help addressing sexual integrity. Consultants are also very useful to business people whose schedules are too unpredictable to regularly attend a support group at a given time. Finally, a consultant may be helpful for a person who has tried support groups and not found much success in them.

How long is a typical engagement?

Consulting can be a single session event, lasting an hour to an hour and a half. This is for people who do not want an ongoing relationship, but just some strong help in knowing where to go next in their journey.

More commonly, consulting is done over several sessions, helping individuals or families put into place new practices that get them on a more successful path. Typically, six months is recommended with consulting sessions about once a month and email conversations in between.

What kinds of assignments will I be asked to complete?

You will be asked to take online surveys and possibly read a book, watch an online video or other resource that fits your particular need. You may also be asked to keep a brief journal.

What other services come with consulting?

Because consulting is so personalized, I will be doing a fair amount of research between sessions to provide the best information possible. Your consulting service includes weekly email communication, so that you can ask questions as they come up. I may also recommend you see other professionals or read specific books on your own time.

More questions?

Feel free to contact me at johnfort@purecommunity.org