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February 20, 2018

Counselors as Coaches in Inner Fitness

By Dr. Richard Boyum

I often think of the various roles that counselors play. Sometimes a new, descriptive word helps us to better define what our roles are. In many ways a counselor is a coach. Like an athletic coach, the job of a counselor is to teach, encourage, and provide reinforcement in appropriate levels of feedback. The majority of the work is done by the client, but a good coach knows how to use different techniques and skills with different individuals to help them achieve their own personal goals.

One style of coaching does not work for all individuals. Another way of looking at the role of counselors is to think of counselors as "inner fitness" experts or trainers. There is a lot of emphasis today on personal trainers to help people get in shape, change their body configuration and so forth. But a counselor takes this to a deeper level.

Their job is to be an inner fitness trainer. They help individuals set goals for personal change in their cognitive and emotional lives. Like any good trainer, a counselor as an inner fitness expert knows when to push a little, when to reinforce, and when to back off and give the individual a little bit of space. Think for a moment about how these words might change your perception of what you do for clients.