About Coach Jack e-mail
Jack and Toshie Ito

Books and Help from Coach Jack Ito PhD

Dr. Jack Ito's Book

What to Do When He Won't Change

connecting through yes book

Connecting Through “Yes!”


build love with communication

Building Love through Better Communication: 5 Free Lessons for Women


communication e-book

Back in the Picture: The Man's Guide to Better Communication in Marriage and Committed Relationships

Choosing Between Relationship Counseling and Relationship Coaching

Counseling and Coaching Comparison

The main difference between counseling and coaching

Counseling helps people to feel better so that they can do better. Acceptance and self-care are the main goals. Until people can do that well, they are considered to have a psychological disorder. Bad relationships are often thought to be a result of mismatching personalities.* A few skills may be taught, but just enough to get back to "normal".

Relationship Coaching helps people to do better, so that they can feel better. Bad feelings are considered to be the result of a low level of success resulting from a lack of skills. Bad relationships are also seen as a result of inadequate skills (e.g. communication, boundaries, effective responding, conflict management, cooperative planning, etc.)

*(Note: If you find a "coach" who offers personality tests like the 16PF, or Meyers-Briggs, they are operating under the counseling model).

Decide between relationship coaching and relationship counseling by answering these two questions:

  1. Are you emotionally able to work on making effective changes? (required for coaching)
  2. Are your difficulties mainly the result of inadequate skills (coaching), or emotional problems (counseling)?


Comparison of Counseling and Relationship Coaching FEATURES
(Click here to compare the counseling and coaching EXPERIENCE)
THEORETICAL MODEL developed from psychology and psychiatry; mental health based model developed from business and professional coaching; skills based model
CREDENTIALS mental health degree mental health degree plus additional training in coaching from certified coaching institutes
FOCUS talk about problems talk about solutions
INITIAL SESSIONS 3 to 4 sessions getting a detailed history self-assessment; action steps identified from first session
LOCATION in office; face to face; shared waiting room typically via telephone or internet; total privacy
GOAL 1 identify emotional and psychological factors affecting the relationship identify desired outcomes and obstacles
GOAL 2 provide emotional support and a controlled environment for clients to discuss problems with their partner focus on skills needed to overcome obstacles and achieve desired outcomes. Practice with coach, or with partner.
METHOD in office problem solving for current stressors; may change from week to week with little continuity. Counselor acts as moderator. clients work on small steps to have frequent success and to keep moving forward. Clients are expected to apply skills between sessions.
FREQUENCY one time per week. additional contact is discouraged. one time per week plus daily e-mail contact as needed. Coach follows closely.
TIME COMMITMENT 45 minutes per week for session; 6 to 12 months treatment to resolve one major problem 30 to 60 minutes per week for coaching session; 15 minutes per day for self-help Pace determined by how much client works on skills. Significant improvement in first month is typical.
COST varies widely with experience; insurance may cover; 6 to 12 months treatment is about 24 to 48 sessions (more affordable if using insurance) varies widely with experience; no insurance coverage; average of only 12 sessions (because of this, coaching is often more affordable than counseling)
BEST FOR people who need a high level of emotional support; best for crisis management people who like structure, to learn new skills, and to have practical steps to follow
BEST FOR individuals and couples with mild to moderate problems and high levels of emotion. Best for physical abuse situations. individuals or couples with stable negative patterns, long term relationship problems, or multiple failed relationships



Counseling and coaching are different professions with different methods and different goals.

Counseling offers a contained environment with a high level of emotional support and is best for people in crisis, especially if they have a low level of social support. Clients who are not able to remain emotional stable between sessions will be referred for a medication evaluation. Also, for low income people with medical insurance, this may be their best choice. Average length of treatment 6 to 12 months (depends on disorder).

Relationship Coaching assumes that clients are already "normal" people, who need skills to deal with current problems and to reach their desired goals. Clients are expected to have the emotional ability to work on at least small practical steps on a daily basis. Daily guidance is included, which is essential when first learning new skills. Average length of coaching 3 months (depends on client's pace using new skills).

Coaching Packages

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