Counseling, mentoring, consulting, and coaching . . .
what's the difference?
And how is confession in a class of its own?
People who subscribe to counseling are typically patients. Simply stated, the focus in counseling is to address experiences and resulting belief systems that have occurred in a patient's past, to promote awareness and healing and to help them live healthier and better lives in the present. The therapy process is driven by the counselor, not the patient, using the the therapist's judgment and educational background to address "soul care." There are a variety of therapy models used to help patients heal and improve over time. Counselors are licensed.
Mentors come alongside their mentees in a close, personal relationship to provide a safe space for questions and experimentation to acquire life skills. Mentors develop and cultivate others by relying on their own life experiences and background as an example. Mentors provide guidance as mentees create a personal development plan which may include mastering new skills, working toward goals, and avoiding common pitfalls in decision-making. Mentors may be certified.
A consultant utilizes some level of expertise to help their clients solve issues. Their clients want to change something, achieve something, attain something, or become something, and they need help. A consultant advises their clients and works with them on how to get from point A to point B through their expert advice.
Coaching is very different from all other disciplines. First, the individual professional coach serves a client, with the belief that the client likely has many of the answers needed within them. While the Consultant focuses on the what (i.e. problem-solving), the Coach focuses on the who (i.e. personal development.) The focus of a coaching engagement is around gaining awareness and taking next steps. They are future-focused and do not delve into the past in any significant way as a counselor would do. The coach is not directive, but helps their clients to “think it, feel it and say it,” long before the need to tell or direct. Professional coaches are credentialed.
CONFESSION, a sacrament of the Church, is in a class of its own. Confession is a sacramental process between a Priest and a communicant to facilitate repentance and to prepare the individual, as well as the Church at large, for the judgment seat of Christ. Only an ordained priest or bishop with the office of confession may pronounce the prayer of absolution which acknowledges God as the forgiver of sins. Neither counseling, mentoring, consulting, nor coaching can replace the sacrament of confession; nor would we expect confession to replace professional counseling, mentoring, consulting, and coaching services.