Counselling, is a highly skilled intervention focused on helping individuals address underlying psychological problems. It generally focuses on resolving the past to create a better present.
|Broader focus and greater depth
|Goal is to help people understand the root causes of either long-standing performance problems/issues at work or long-standing personal problems
||The goal is to improve an individuals life performance or performance at work i.e. the focus is on results
|A short-term intervention, but can last for longer time periods due to the breadth of issues to be addressed
||Tends for be a short-term intervention with a specific issue and outcome in mind
|Counselling can be used to address psycho-social as well as performance issues
||Coaching does not seek to resolve any underlying psychological problems. It assumes a person does not require a psycho-social intervention i.e. the person being coached is clinically well
|The agenda is generally agreed by the individuals and the counsellor
||The agenda is typically set by the individual (transformational coaching) or by the individual in agreement/ consultation with the organisation (executive coaching)
|Other stakeholders are rarely involved
||Other stakeholders may be involved (executive coaching)
This is also known as "Executive Coaching" We prefer the term "Organisational Coaching" as coaching and coaching techniques are increasing being used in non-executive settings in the workplace. Our understanding of Organisational Coaching is informed by Standards Australia (2011) who define it as follows.
Coaching that is provided by a formally designated coach and conducted within organisational settings. Its focus is on improving clients' work-related skills, work performance or work-related personal development in a way that is personally and professionally beneficial to the client.
Cognitive behavioural coaching (CBC) is a fusion of cognitive behavioural therapy, rational emotive therapy, solution focused approaches, goal setting theory and social cognitive theory. CBC is goal focused, time-limited and focused in the present. It is a non-therapeutic approach dealing with non-clinical problems and challenges. CBC premises that individuals may have inadequate problem solving skills or may not apply skills they have in a contextually appropriate manner, and that their thoughts, emotions and behaviours are key to understanding their perception of problems and situations.
CBC is often combined with a solution-focused (SF) approach to create a dual approach incorporating the psychological and the practical. In dealing with cognition's coachees are able to change how they view situations and stumbling blocks to change, such as procrastination, indecisiveness and self-doubt are removed. The concurrent behavioural approach assists the coachee develop goal directed action steps. CBC is parsimonious, using the least effort to achieve the desired outcome for the coachee. It has the ultimate goal of assisting the coachee to learn how to "self-coach". CBC uses Socratic questioning to facilitate insight and improve rational decision making: The focus is on stimulating thought and increasing awareness rather than providing a correct answer. This assists the coachee to identify and modify erroneous thinking patterns that cause stress (stress induced thinking), interfere with performance (performance inhibiting thoughts) and develop negative attitudes (automatic negative thoughts). If necessary, it involves the exploration, challenging and modulating of the coachees core beliefs, but only where parsimony dictates.
Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT), also known as Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment (MAC) training, helps individuals to accept what is out of their personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches their professional and personal life. It achieves this by:
- Teaching psychological skills to individuals which assist them to deal with their thoughts and feelings effectively thereby minimising influence on behaviour
- Helping individuals to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to them i.e. their values, and to then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate changes in behaviour.
ACT is a mindfulness-based approach. Mindfulness is a motivated state of de-centred awareness brought about by receptive attending to present moment experience (Cavanagh & Spence, 2012 p 117). Mindfulness has recently been increasingly recognised as a powerful intervention in both coaching and therapy, and is used in areas such as leadership training, building resilience, reducing work stress and treating depression.
Mindfulness facilitates individuals to engage fully in what they are doing at any moment. In a state of mindfulness, the impact of unproductive and/or difficult thoughts and feelings is significantly reduced. . Used by many therapists, mindfulness has also proven very useful in enhancing athletic and business performance.
ACT breaks mindfulness skills down into 3 categories:
- Defusion – distancing from, and letting go of, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories
- Acceptance – making room for painful feelings, urges and sensations, and allowing them to come and go without a struggle
- Contact – with the present moment: engaging fully with your here-and-now experience, with an attitude of openness and curiosity
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a unique and creative approach to behaviour change premised on scientific research into human behavioural psychology and a continually expanding evidence base.