The terms guidance and counseling are often interchanged, due to their close relationship with one another and the fact that, at times, the functions of the two have a significant overlap. They ultimately have, however, two distinctly different sets of methods, aims and goals.
Guidance becomes clear when it is taken back to its root verb: To guide. The definition of this verb is: To lead the way, to assist, to accompany and give direction to, to compel to follow or choose a certain path, to show something and explain its meaning or importance. The noun guide is defined as a person who guides, something to provide reference, or a guidebook.
So, guidance is the process of guiding a person along a particular path, of showing them what they should do, how to do it and explaining why it should be done, and in this way. The aim of guidance, then, is to lead an individual into a pre-determined direction of the leader's choice. The goal is to get the individual to follow the path selected for them, or behave in a particular way.
The verb counsel is defined as: To advise, to recommend the adoption of a plan of action, to direct the judgment of another. The noun counsel is defined as: Interchange of opinions with regards to future procedure, deliberation, consultation. Counseling then, is the process of advising an individual while at the same time encouraging them to voice their own opinions and use their own judgment with regards to future actions or the resolution of problems.
The aim is to assist the individual in becoming psychologically mature and able to realize their potential. The goals of counseling are self-realization and self-actualization of an individual, providing them with self-direction and self-motivation.