Career Coach vs. Career Counsellor: Which One is Right for You?

//Career Coach vs. Career Counsellor: Which One is Right for You?

Career Coach vs. Career Counselor

If you’ve ever searched for a professional to help you make the best choices when it comes to your professional life, you’ve probably noticed that there are a couple of different types of professionals in this field.

They both are specialists in the world of employment.

They’re both here to make that journey easier and more successful for you.

And they both attend the annual high-stakes counsellors VS coach’s paintball game to decide who takes home the “Professional Development Trophy”. It gets messy.

But what actually is the difference between a Career Coach vs. Career Counsellor? And which one would be best to work with to meet your career goals?

Let’s dive in…


Session with two people sitting in chairs facing each other. could be Career Coach vs. Career Counsellor.

What is the difference?

Career coaches

  • Typically focus on helping individuals identify and achieve their career goals through skills development, networking, and job search strategies.
  • Help clients develop a plan to reach their desired career outcomes, provide accountability and support, and help clients overcome obstacles that may be hindering their progress.
  • Often, coaches will have a background in human resources, or business management and use their expertise to help clients develop the skills and strategies needed to succeed in their chosen field.


Career counsellors

  • Focus on helping individuals navigate personal and emotional issues that may be affecting their job performance or career satisfaction.
  • They may address issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression that may be impacting a client’s ability to succeed in their career.
  • They typically have a background in counselling or psychology and use their expertise to help clients assess their interests, skills, and values to determine which career paths would be most suitable for them.

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What Do You Need and Who Can Do it?

  • Creating a personalized career development plan that outlines specific goals and objectives. – More coach
  • Offering support and advice on career-related issues, such as workplace stress, job dissatisfaction, and burnout. – More counsellor
  • Administering career assessments and inventories to help clients identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of interest. – both
  • Guiding job search strategies, such as resume writing and interviewing skills.- Both
  • Helping clients navigate career transitions, such as moving from one industry to another or returning to the workforce after a long absence. Both
  • Guiding job search strategies, such as networking and online job searching. Both
  • Offering support and advice on career-related issues, such as managing difficult co-workers or negotiating a raise. Both
  • Helping clients develop skills such as time management, communication, and leadership. Both

Frustrating isn’t it? You didn’t read this article for answers, did you?!

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So, Why Chose One Over The Other?

The main reason you would choose to see a career coach vs a career counsellor (or visa versa) is the approach they take and how it vibes with your own energy/communication style.

Counsellors and coaches often have very different communication styles that reflect their unique approaches to helping clients. Here are some general differences and reasons you might prefer one over the other:

Listening vs. questioning:

  • Counsellors tend to open-ended questions to clarify their concerns and help them explore their feelings.
  • Coaches often use questioning techniques to challenge clients’ assumptions and help them gain clarity and focus on their goals and what success means to them.

Empathy vs. challenge:

  • Counsellors may use empathy and validation to help clients feel understood and supported. They may offer gentle feedback and help clients reframe negative thoughts.
  • Coaches, on the other hand, may use more challenging language to motivate clients and push them out of their comfort zones.

Theraputive vs. directive:

  • Counsellors often take a more reflective and empathetic approach to communication.
  • Coaches generally use a more directive approach to communication, focusing on providing advice and guidance to their clients. They may be more assertive in their communication style, using more active language and direct questioning to help their clients identify their goals and develop strategies to achieve them.

CBT vs. Goal setting:

  • Counsellors may also use therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy or mindfulness exercises, to help clients manage stress or anxiety related to their work.
  • Coaches may also use motivational techniques, such as positive affirmations or goal-setting exercises, to help clients stay on track and maintain focus on their career objectives.


Woman looking quizzical, does she need  Career Coach vs. Career Counsellor

 Photo by Eunice Lituañas on Unsplash

Career Coach vs. Career Counsellor – Which One is Right for Me?

Deciding whether to choose a career counsellor or a career coach ultimately comes down to your specific needs and goals. Here are some questions to consider when making your decision:

  • Are you looking to explore different career options and make informed decisions about your future? If so, a career counsellor may be the right choice for you.
  • Do you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and need help to develop the skills and strategies to get there? If so, a career coach may be the right choice for you.
  • Are you looking for ongoing support and guidance as you navigate your career journey? If so, both career counsellors and career coaches can provide this, but career counsellors may be a better fit for those who want more long-term support.
  • Do you need help managing specific career-related challenges, such as workplace stress or job dissatisfaction? A career counsellor can provide support and guidance in these areas.
  • Are you looking to explore more creative or unconventional career paths? A career coach may be the right choice for you, as they tend to have a more out-of-the-box thinking approach.

Ultimately, both career counsellors and career coaches can be valuable resources for young people who are searching for their perfect career path. It boils down to

1) What are your individual needs and goals?

2) Which communication style works best for you?


Ultimately, the decision between a career coach and a career counsellor will depend on your specific needs and goals.

It’s important to research and interview potential coaches or counsellors to ensure they have the appropriate qualifications and experience to help you reach your goals.

The most important thing is your own goals, how comfortable you feel working with the person, and how best you think they will help you reach your version of success.


If you’re wondering what side of the Career Coach vs. Career Counsellor paintball field we’re on, you haven’t been paying close enough attention.

Forward Career Coaching specialises in the coaching side of professional development. We have a team of amazing and experienced coaches which different communication styles to meet your needs. If you’re looking to get ahead in the world of work, why not get in touch for a free consultation?