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Coach or Counselor?

When I first started considering working with a life coach, I was also in therapy and working with a sponsor for my recovery from alcohol dependence. It was hard to know, what benefits could a life coach give me that I wasn't already receiving? How do you know when to work with a coach vs. a counselor?

Through some research and opinions, I've put together this list that hopefully will provide some clarity. Of course, all coaches, therapies and healing modalities can be different or have different areas of expertise, but in general, I believe the following to be true.


Counseling or Therapy

  • Often focused on the past and bringing the client to a level of normal function

  • Able to provide recommendations for medications which may aide in mental health

  • Can aide in diagnosing behavioral patterns or severe uncontrollable behaviors which may be holding you back from functioning at a normal or high level

  • Educated in identifying and working through trauma, depression and other behavioral diagnosis that prevent an individual from feeling their best

  • Should be prioritized if you are in a place in life where you are thinking of harming yourself or others

  • Generally inquisitive, focus on bringing you to a place of clarity and peace with your life

Life and Success Coaches

  • Both present and future based practices which allow the client to take action to becoming who they want to be

  • Collaborative, action oriented and potentially challenging as it does not dwell on what was, but propels you into what could be (solution based vs. problem based)

  • Work together to identify what is wrong, fix it, set goals and move towards achieving them (fix it - can depend on the coach, certifications, etc.)

  • It's a good time to consider a coach if you are seeking guidance, feeling stuck, lacking confidence in how to move forward in your life or self sabotaging

  • Focus on your potential

Both are wonderful options to aide in your personal growth journey. All certifications, education, energetic alignment and general practices may vary. It's important to feel safe enough to speak honestly about what you need or want from your sessions and trust that the person you are working with can provide the guidance you seek. Research shows that seeking support can improve our mental health and overall happiness, the I have to figure this out on my own feelings, simply leave us isolated, frustrated and often in fear or what to do next.


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