Best Support For Your Child: Coach, Mentor Or Counsellor 

 29 April 2021

By  Karen Cruise

When looking for support for your child, there can be so much choice that it can feel overwhelming.

What’s more, support can come in a variety of services, from psychotherapy to coaching, mentoring to counselling.

Often, these words are used interchangeably, which makes it even harder to determine what the right route is for your child.

One of the main confusion points that parents ask the team at Flourished Minds is what the difference is between a coach, counsellor and mentor.

Despite all sounding very similar and having some crossovers, there are some key differences that can change the level of support for your child.

Before we partner and support any child, we make sure that they and their parents fully understand what our approach involves.

From the very beginning, we make sure that everyone knows what our team does, including making it clear that we are not counsellors.

Hopefully, this article will help you understand which is the best route for your child.

Coach, Mentor, Counsellor: Understanding The Similarities

There are two main pillars that you can find in coaches, mentors and counsellors. These pillars are:

Active Listening

The biggest similarity for all three options is active listening. Active listening is purely focused on the individual.

It is about listening wholeheartedly to what the child is saying as well as picking up on what they’re not saying.

Active listening focuses on non-verbal communication just as much as verbal communication.

Whether you choose a coach, mentor or counsellor, you can expect this to be a key trait for all three options.

Curious And Inquisitive

Another key skill that you can find in all three options is the ability to ask powerful questions.

This approach is completely non-judgemental but asks questions that can help a child to become more self-aware and reflective.

The questions can be deep. Sometimes, they can feel uncomfortable, but they work to help the child get a deeper understanding of what’s going on and how they really feel.

A qualified professional will work with your child to create a safe space where they feel able to answer questions.

A coach, mentor or counsellor will allow individuals to respond however they choose to, without judgement or expectation.

These two pillars work together to help create a process of self-discovery.

If something is holding your child back, these approaches can help them address the issue and move forward.

What’s The Difference Between Counselling And Coaching?

The process of coaching and counselling can be very different.

While they both encourage self-reflection and discovery through talking, listening and questioning, the process can look different.

The Start

  • Coaching starts with your child’s goals without tending to focus on problems in the past
  • Counselling may well look to understand problems and issues and look to the past to provide more understanding as to where the issues may have come from

When beginning to work with a coach or counsellor, there will be a starting framework.

In counselling, this is usually a problem assessment.

For coaching, the start is a child’s goal:

  • What do they want to achieve?
  • How do they want to think, act, behave differently?
  • Where do they want to be?

The Focus

  • Coaching manages the present and focuses on the future
  • Counselling often (but not always) looks back to past experiences and traumas

The primary difference between the two approaches is the focus for the sessions.

Counselling can often take the child back to the past, to go over previous events and anything lodged in their memories that may be impacting how they are today.

Coaching, however, tends to be more forward-focused. A coach will work with a child to focus on the now and create the future they want to see.

The Process

  • Coaching evokes self-awareness and responsibility
  • Counselling tends to diagnose behaviour and deep emotional issues

A counsellor can be invaluable in helping children and teens to process mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders and self-harm.

It is important to note that a coach may not be qualified to support a child with specific mental health issues.

However, a coach can be incredibly beneficial for support with self-esteem and confidence, improving behaviour and helping each child to become aware of their abilities and achieve their fullest potential.

The Outcome

  • A coach can help children who want to achieve more and realise their potential
  • A counsellor can help children who are overwhelmed and struggling to cope

If your child is getting by and coping, but there is something that is perhaps holding them back from achieving their potential, coaching can be a great way to achieve a successful outcome.

However, if your child is feeling very overwhelmed with everyday tasks, then counselling may be the route to help them cope.

What’s The Difference Between a Coach and a Mentor?

The other option for children is a mentor.

A mentor can be a great help if your child has a very specific focus or wants to learn, improve or excel in a particular area of life.

A mentor will use their own expertise in that area to help your child.

A mentoring approach can be directive, and the mentor will offer advice based on their own experiences.

A coach, however, doesn’t give advice, as they believe the child has the answers within themselves.

A mentor can be helpful as they impart knowledge and expertise; they may also set tasks and create a model for behaviour for the child.

Throughout the process, a mentor may provide feedback too.

Coaching, however, is a more holistic approach. Coaches can help children find their answers, but they will not instruct or create behavioural models.

Is Flourished Minds Right For Your Child?

At Flourished Minds, our goal is to ensure every child has the right support for their needs.

Our professional, accredited coaches specialise in child, teen and young adult coaching.

Our non-judgemental, transformative approach can help your child to achieve their fullest potential.

If you are unsure what the right option is for your child, then please feel free to reach out to our team.

We will provide honest advice that is in your child’s best interest.

We know that our expertise lies in helping children find their real spark, passion, and purpose in life and help them recognise and experience their potential.

However, we will happily refer you to other experts if we feel that your child may require a different level of support that coaching cannot provide.

If you want to find out more about how we work or want to talk about what you and your child are looking for, then we’d love for you to get in touch.

We offer free, confidential consultations where we will help you to get peace of mind for the right next steps for your child.

Click here to arrange your free consultation.

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Karen Cruise - The Young People's Life Coach

Karen isn’t only an experienced, accredited coach, she’s also a hard-working mum with many years of employment in the corporate world, the last 10 at a very senior level.

She’s been described as dynamic, intuitive, unstoppable when it comes to helping young people live their best lives.

You’d be hard-pressed to find to a CEO more committed to helping your child succeed.

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