The Nordic region's largest coaching network

The difference between coaching, therapy, mentoring, counseling and supervision

The difference between coaching, therapy, mentoring, counseling and supervision

Difference in coaching

Differences between Coaches

It can be difficult to know the difference between coaching, therapy, mentoring, counseling and supervision. Here you get some explanations about what separates them.


A coach is a coach who focuses on changing the client's behavior and mindset, as coaching is future-oriented. The purpose of coaching is to create responsibility, self-confidence and awareness and help the individual to find solutions themselves. The coach does not publish ready-made goals and solutions, but collaborates with the client to arrive at them under the client's own responsibility based on the client's available resources. As the coach helps the client to come up with the solutions himself, the coach does not have to be an expert in the client's area. The coach does not have a ready-made model to follow but has several different methods to use. A good coach also needs to possess and master a number of core competencies. It is most common for coaching to take place with an individual, but it can also be performed in a group.


Therapy is a non-medical treatment of an injury or illness and the person who professionally performs the therapy is called a therapist. Therapy is used for both mental and physical problems in healthcare. Psychotherapy is usually what is meant when talking about therapy, where a goal-oriented and systematic conversational treatment based on psychological theory. The purpose of psychotherapy is to process a specific problem or to help the patient feel better. There are many different forms of therapy, such as cognitive psychotherapy, systemic therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It is licensed psychologists or psychotherapists who practice psychotherapy. The therapist's intention is to remedy different types of mental illness, both a historical and future perspective is used during the work. Therapy can be given to individuals, couples, families or groups.


A mentor is a person who knows the profession and / or the industry. Usually the mentor is an older and / or more experienced person who acts as a role model and leads the younger and / or less experienced adept. Based on his experience, the mentor can give advice, guide the student and act as a sounding board. Mentoring is something that is almost always carried out exclusively by the mentor and the trainee. It is common for the mentor to be someone within your own organization, but it is also possible for the mentor to be someone from outside.

The consultant

A consultant is an advisor who is a specialist in a specific area and can be hired to give advice, ideas and suggestions based on their experience. The consultant is usually a specialist in development and change from an organizational perspective. The consultant usually works on the basis of experience-based learning. It is possible to provide advice in groups or individually and the consultation can also take place through a third party.

The supervisor

The supervisor's task is to provide guidance based on continuous pedagogical guidance or support with the intention of raising the characteristics and being a sounding board. There is a model that the supervisor follows, which is expected to give a certain result. Depending on the context, the content, implementation and scope of the model differ. Based on a pedagogical basic view, the supervisor must support and facilitate the learning process. Supervision does not concern private or personal matters but focuses on commissioned or professional matters. During the supervision, the individual and / or group is given the opportunity to speak freely about their case.

In some companies it is common to have an external supervisor, while many others prefer that the supervisor is a person in the business or professional area. It is possible to carry out supervision individually, but it is most common that it takes place in a group as it means that you can benefit from the group's combined experience and knowledge.

Common to all: The conversation

The common denominator for the different professions described is that the conversation is used as a tool. When it comes to communication, development and participation, conversation is one of man's most important tools. The difference between the professions above is how the conversation is handled, the purpose of the conversation, the approach and what skills you bring into the conversation.

Synonyms in contrast

  • difference, difference, divergence, distinction, distinction, difference, deviation