What’s The Difference Between Counseling, Mentoring, Consulting & Coaching?

The bike riding metaphor is a clear and fun way of illustrating the differences. It seems simple; however, there is more than one way to ride a bike and for different reasons.

Counseling: When did you crash and get hurt on your bike? How did it make you feel?

Mentoring: This is how I ride my bike, do what I do.

Consulting: This is what is wrong with your bike riding, follow my system and recommendations for improvement.

Coaching: Where do you want to go?

Want to hear and see the full discussion with my co-host on my recent Strengths Champion Solutions Linkedin Live? Watch HERE.

Also please comment with your observations, questions, insights on this blog post. or Set up an Ask Brent Anything complimentary call HERE. 

4 replies
  1. Eugene C. Taylor
    Eugene C. Taylor says:

    As a certified coach I found this reference to be very useful. Although I felt like I clearly knew the differences between each, it is a good illustration to help my clients understand the differences and where they are at in the cycle. Interestingly enough I see most of my clients moving about in the 4 areas. Thanks for this powerful illustration.

    • Brent O'Bannon
      Brent O'Bannon says:

      Eugene I’m glad this is a useful illustration for you and your clients. It’s true that we “helpers” put on and take of these different hats, hopefully with wisdom and good timing for the client.

  2. Jennifer Vancil
    Jennifer Vancil says:

    “Where do you want to go?” is my favorite question and why I am a coach. However, as a career coach, mentoring and consulting are also useful tool in moving people forward. This description is so helpful in understanding the differences and when each is called for. Thank you for this, Brent!

  3. Brent OBannon
    Brent OBannon says:

    Yes Jennifer that future forward focus is what distinguishes coaching from the other tools of helping people grow. Keep up the good work and enjoy your coach training in Spain coming up soon!


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