Coaching, Counselling, Mentoring… which is for me?

It’s good to talk. Fortunately there are so many people out there who are ready (and trained!) to listen to you and offer support when you are ready for change. But how do you know if it is a coach, counsellor or mentor who will provide you with the guidance you need? In this post, I have simplified some of the types of support available to you based on where you are right now, looking at how they can help you create change in your life.

I need to find a way to cope…

If you are seeking support with how you cope on a day-to-day basis, counselling may be a suitable option for you. Counsellors create a safe environment in which to explore how you are feeling and help you find ways to manage these emotions, which might be in a one-to-one, group, family or couples setting.

Find out more (UK): Counselling Directory

I want to understand why I feel like this…

Psychotherapists are trained to help their clients understand the root cause of problems, supporting a range of concerns from emotional difficulties to psychiatric disorders. Whilst the terms psychotherapist and counsellor are often used interchangeably, a psychotherapist can help you recognise and solve problems in your life, looking back at your past to understand how it has shaped you.

Find out more (UK): UK Council for Psychotherapists

I want to learn from an expert in my field…

The change you want to see may require you to look ahead, rather than to the past. If you are keen to develop and want to learn from someone who has followed a similar path before you, finding a mentor could help you build confidence and expand your own expertise. Mentors use their experiences, knowledge or skills to direct mentees forward in their journey.

LinkedIn, mentoring apps and your own network are a great place to start!

I want to focus on creating my future…

If moving forward is your focus, but you want to be able to take ownership for your goals, coaching may be the solution for you. Coaches offer encouragement, guidance and challenge in equal measure, empowering clients to develop their self-awareness and create long-term, positive change in their lives.

Find out more (Global): International Coach Federation (ICF)

I want to learn new skills…

If you are looking for new skills or knowledge, you may find that a suitable Trainer is best suited to your needs. Training enables a facilitator to share knowledge and skills, so you can then use them in a way that is relevant for you.

Search google for courses and workshops online and near you in your chose subject.

This list is by no means exhaustive! Being a mental health advocate but not a mental health professional, I am keen to make the distinction between support that is focused on addressing problems (such as therapy and counselling) and that which is focused on personal growth or development. It is also important to make the distinction between coaching, mentoring and training, all of which can help guide you forwards.

You may look at this list and realise you would benefit from one, none or a combination of the types of support listed. It is common to talk to one professional about your past and another about your future. You will know what feels right for you, right now. To find out more, make the most of the resources available online or speak to specialists. Coaching is my specialism, but I also have experience in mentoring and training, so can help with questions you may have on support for personal and professional development. If this post has helped you or you have further thoughts, please let me know in the comments below or by contacting me directly.

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