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Differences between coaching, psychotherapy, mentoring, counseling, orientation…

diferencias entre psicoterapia y coaching

Coaching, psicoterapia, advice, counselingmentoring, orientation, etc…A pile of concepts, but which is the one who need? Nowadays they exist crowd of terms to define a common aim to all they that, with the specific nuances for each case, could  resumir eat: propiciar the mejoría personal of the individual and his behaviour, as well as his personal development in the diverse fields of the life.

Before beginning. The psychologist, professional of the human behaviour.

As we always remember, the skilled professional in the human behaviour is the psychologist. The psychology is the science commissioned to move his knowledges in profit of the human behaviour, already was by means of psicoterapia, coachingmentoring, advice, cousenling or orientation. A psychologist can be all this, but all those do not have reason be psychologists.

Nevertheless, it fits to remember that although the psychologist was the specialist in human behaviour, exist other skilled professionals in some of these tools of personal development that make also these functions, except the psicoterapia on the health that only can make it specialists in clinical and sanitary psychology. Other professionals that make in some way work of mejoría personal of the individual can be the educators, teachers, pedagogos, psicopedagogos, professional sportive trainers, therapists, social workers or even the so fashionable coach (executive, educational, labour, personal, etc.) as long as they are properly formed in the competitions related.

In case of doubt, query always with a psychologist, do not go to create in the cheat of the swindle of the coaching as it criticised the humorist David Broncano and remembered in east another article: The swindle of the coaching, a humorous criticism of David Broncano (VIDEO).

Differences between coaching, psicoterapia, advice, mentoring, consueling and orientation.

If have haste and do not want to read you the whole article, neither wrap you with so much termination “-ing”, the basic parallelism of each term, from my point of view, is what follows:

  • Coaching: Training.
  • Psychotherapy: It improves problems of the health.
  • Advice: transfer of knowledge.
  • Mentoring: tutorización.
  • Counseling: Council, query.
  • Orientation: guide.

>> Article related: Differences between Professional Orientation, Vocational and Labour.

Anyway, we go to the grain.

To show the differences between terms will take like reference to the coaching and the rest, since the coaching is so fashionable that perhaps was the term that need greater explanation:

Difference between coaching and psychotherapy.

The coaching is oriented to the improvement of the exert personal and professional with the end to encourage a 0greater development of the own potential.

The coaching is focused to guide or train to people that do not have a problem of health whereas the psychotherapy centres  in resolving problems of pathological type, to psychological problems diagnosed.

The coaching works with customers (the coachee) that look for to improve his exert and potential in a concrete area (executive, educational, sportive, personal…) And in the psicoterapia the customers are to his patient time with a pathology, which is the one who prevents him develop his personal skills and his personal development.

In the coaching is the customer the manager in developing his competitions. It is as the one who goes to the gymnasium, by a lot that the trainer say him that it has to go out to run, the manager to go out to run is customer. In the meantime, the psychotherapist develops the necessary competitions together with the customer to attain the aim.

>> Article related: Train to train. The importance to form  in competitions.

In the coaching, is the customer the one who proposes put them and the one who reaches the aims by his own merits. In the psicoterapia the intervention is more direct and is the psychotherapist the one who establishes the aims and tries that the patient the scope with his help.

This yes, both terms share part of the final aims, ideas and even tools.

Difference between coaching and psychological advice.

In this case, the advice treats  of a more linear process where the adviser finds  mildly above the customer, in the sense that the customer attends to the adviser because it thinks that is a  expertprofessional in a matter that the customer does not dominate. Therefore, it transfers  knowledge. Example: I do not know to make a task (for example, a technician of dynamics of group) and attend to an adviser, in this case a psychologist, so that it inform me, form or execute a task for which he is the expert.

In the case of the coaching the process is not linear, but bidirectional. It bases  in a dialogue between coach and coachee (customer) to a same level, although it was the coach the one who knows the tools of improvement. It is the customer the one who finishes making the task, after the utilisation of the training or the guidelines consesuadas with his coach. Like example, is the same that prepare a marathon, can hire to a trainer so that it prepare you but the person that will make the career and will arrive to put it will be you, in fact the trainer is likely that not even run the marathon, because perhaps neither he same was qualified to do it. The one who says one put sportive, says one put personal, business or educational.

Differences between coaching and mentoring.

In the mentoring, to be able to help to the student, the mentor has to be an expert in the matter in which it is working  and exert from here of guide and tutor to the marked aim, that so much can be formative like having one put more defined in the time (elaborate a work of end of career, initiate a company, learn a job, etc.). The mentor therefore what does is to transmit his experience, to part of his knowledge, in the field treated. The customer in this case is a apprentice (mentoree).

On the other hand, the coach does not need to know at all about the work of the customer. The coaching helps to discover the own potential of his customer acting like facilitador. Besides, the coach has to avoid transfer own experiences.

In both cases speak to give councils and try that the customer internalise them.

Differences between coaching and counseling.

In this case the counseling shares some characteristics with the psychological advice and the coaching. The counselor is that person to which attends  to make a determinate query, in which the customer (counselee) expects to receive an advice, indication, orientation or information that was him useful to improve a personal situation of any type (professional, educational, personal, etc.) that facilitate him the taking of decision of autonomous form. The counseling is a more global tool of which nourish  the rest.

By counseling perhaps was not known, but really is big part of the work made in the psychological consultings since his more general character engloba much more the improvement of the personal development that the coaching or the mentoring, more focalizados in the achievement of one put concrete. The counseling favourable more the integral development of the person so much to psychological level, social, professional and vital in general.

Differences between coaching and orientation.

In it finds  an article related directly with this appearance which sugieron his reading: Differences between professional orientation, labour and vocational.

The orientation, as it knows  does reference to fields like the orientador educational, labour, professional or even the orientador familiar. A good orientador has to know good part of the characteristics of the rest of tools.

A practical example of what is a psychotherapist, a coach, an adviser, a mentor, a counselor or an orientador.

In case it still has not remained of the all clear, put a simple example. It imagines that you want to mount a company for the first time and do not know like doing it, will be able to request help to one or others in function of your needs that is to say:

  1. If you do not know that type of company mount, need an orientador.
  2. If you know that type of company mount and have knowledges on the matter, but do not know like achieving the aim, need a coach.
  3. If you know that type of company mount but would like you purchase experience and you tutoricen, need a mentor.
  4. If you want to mount a company but do not know by where begin, need an adviser.
  5. If you want to mount a company but do not have time, do not organise you and surpasses you the situation, need a counselor.
  6. If you want to mount a company, but want to have of partner to a fellow imaginary, need a clinical psychologist and his back psychotherapy.

You can change the term “company”, by any another type of appearance (a university career, a sportive aim, a personal relation, etc.).

The psychology like tool of improvement, in crowd of fields. 

It remembers besides, that the psychology and therefore the psychologist is the specialist in human behaviour, that will be able to be skilled and choose each one of these tools in function of the needs to contribute to the personal improvement. The psychologists can help you in diverse facets, exist psychologists of the sport, educational, clinical, industrial,  of the organisations and of work, psychologists orientadores (educational, professional, vocational, labour, familiar), psychologists specialists in marketing and advertising, sanitary psychologists, clinical psychologists, psychologists specialists in coaching, psychological advisers, social psychologists and of social intervention, specialists in social skills, specialists in emotional intelligence, forensic psychologists, penitenciarios, mediators, experts and a long etcetera more.

All this say it for following struggling against the encasillamiento of the figure of the psychologist. Go to the psychologist does not have reason involve a mental problem. You do not have him fear, neither feel shame for assisting to a psychologist and begins to train your mind.

It has remained you something clearer? In case of doubt it leaves your comment and between all will be able to solve it and follow expanding the information of the article.


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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    • ¡Gracias por tus palabras Blanca! Se trata de dar valor a las profesiones y hacer entender que no es lo mismo una cosa que otra. Nuestras necesidades son las que nos derivan a uno u otro profesional, que debe reunir ciertas competencias. Un saludo.

  • Los primeros que lo tendríamos que tener muy claro somos los psicólogos, sobre todo desde la ética debemos enfocarnos y derivar a las personas según sus necesidades.

    Muy claro el articulo, de fácil comprensión, entre tanta terminología es fácil perderse.

    Comparto las ideas que expresas y también me ha gustado la clave de humor con el video de Broncano.

    • ¡Hola Jimena!
      Gracias por tu comentario y palabras. Sí, el principal objetivo del artículo es explicarlo de manera clara y sin rodeos lo que es cada cosa. El profesional de cada rama debe asumir su propia ética profesional y derivar al especialista que más se adapte a las necesidades de cada caso. La psicología no solo es sanitaria, pero deben estar claros los límites. Creo que es una buena forma de valorar las funciones globales de la psicología para que los clientes sepan a donde acudir sin miedo a ir a un psicólogo sin prejuicios ni etiquetas mal construidas.

      Un saludo,

      Iván Pico

  • Me pareció muy clarificador y respetuoso con todos los diversos saberes y profesiones que abarcan la conducta humana.Me alegra ver la madurez y sencillez para dar lugar , con sus especificidades y limitaciones , a todos estos saberes que crean relaciones de ayuda diversas.
    Un cordial saludo

  • Hola! gracias por el artículo, pero me quedé un poco confundida, por que me aparece en inglés, pero con algunas palabras en español y luego acá todos los comentarios están en español, entonces, no se si mi browser lo tradujo automatico, o estaba escrito en Spanglish? gracias

    • Hola.
      El artículo tiene una versión en inglés que quizás tu navegador detectó. Para poder ver la versión en español tienes que cambiar el idioma de la web. Arriba a la derecha (versión PC) o abajo de todo (versión PC y móvil).

      Un saludo,


  • Hola Iván,
    felicidades por tu artículo, aclara muchos conceptos y amplía las funciones a las que nos podemos dedicar los psicólogos, pero aún me queda alguna duda 🙂

    Acabo de terminar mi grado en Psicología, y mi duda es: ahora mismo, sin ningún estudio más ¿puedo realizar legal y éticamente funciones de psicoterapeuta, coach, asesor, counselor u orientador? Tengo claro que voy a seguir formándome (en la medida en que mi trabajo y familia me lo permita, tal y como he realizado el grado), pero me gustaría empezar a ejercer de psicóloga y me cuesta ver la luz. Inicié los estudios de grado con una cierta edad, con vocación de ayudar a las personas, y ahora una vez finalizados veo más impedimentos que salidas.

    Espero puedas darme un poco más de luz, y te felicito por tu artículo.
    Saludos cordiales,

    • ¡Hola!
      Muchas gracias por tu comentario. Pues para resumirlo bien, básicamente una vez terminada la carrera lo único que te impide legalmente realizar esos trabajos que dices son aquellas actividades que esté restringidas a tener en posesión un título habilitante. Es decir, no podrías ejercer en el ámbito de la salud sin tener el título de Máster en Psicología General Sanitaria o el PIR realizado y ser psicóloga clínica. O el otro caso actual es ejercer de orientadora educativa en un centro educativo, que exigen tener el Máster de Profesorado con la especialidad en Orientación Educativa pertinente. Todo lo demás ya dependerá de tu formación de posgrado que realices pero con el interés de formarte tú misma como psicóloga no porque te lo vayan a exigir.

      Por ejemplo, en mi caso no ejerzo como psicólogo sanitario. Si bien, no te voy a engañar, tener ese título sí que abre muchas puertas. Sin embargo, yo he decidido ejercer en otras áreas de la psicología (deportiva, social, orientación educativa y profesional, familiar, rendimiento personal, etc…) y cuando tengo un caso vinculado más a temas sanitarios lo derivo a un especialista en ese ámbito para evitar problemas.

      ¡Espero haberte ayudado!

      Un saludo,

      Iván Pico

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