Because many terms in helping professions are often used interchangeably, our endeavor below is to give contemporary perspectives in simple terms to clear some doubts among lay people. However, it must be borne in mind that there may be situations in which these distinctions may blur
Primary distinction lies in the extent of directiveness or otherwise. Mentoring involves sharing of knowledge and perspectives based on similar contexts faced by the mentor. Primary focus of coaching to help coachee uncover her own gifts and talents and draw her own solutions for her unique situations.
Here the potential clients are potential business leaders/high flyers, and coaches/mentors have typically served in C-level/board level positions or have formulated new approaches of running a business.
Counselling normally deals with a past or present challenge in much greater depth drawing on theories of psychotherapy, even though basic underpinnings and models of coaching also have their origins in gestalt and cognitive behavior therapy. Coaching focuses more on future with normally mentally healthy coachees. Both, coaching and counselling, require distinctly different education and training. Drawing an analogy from the field of health, coaching vs counseling is akin to wellness program vs. treatments.