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Life Coaching Versus Counseling

Life Coaching Versus Counseling

Life Coaching—

Although Life Coaching has grown dramatically as a field recently, there’s still a lot of misconceptions about what a life coaching is and what life coaching is not. Many people still think that coaching is synonymous with therapy. 

Definition of Life coaching: a service designed to help ambitious achievers meet the outcomes that will bring them success and fulfillment in any and all areas of life. 

Coaching helps people to gain clarity on their goals and create next steps to achieve a life they desire, or career they desire, or relationship they desire. It is action-oriented and focuses on gently pushing clients forward in their lives. Coaches help people to envision their ideal situation—at work, home, or in relationships— and figure out strategies for creating what they envision. Life coaches act as accountability partners, unbiased listeners to encourage you to reach your goal(s). Life coaching is not therapy/psychotherapy, not consulting, and not mentoring. In general, life coaches are present and future focused. Life coaches help their clients explore their past only as a means of understanding their current life experiences and belief systems. Their primary goals are to help a client look at where they are, where they want to be, and how to get from point A to point B.

Here are a few ways a life coach could potentially help you:

  • Change your thinking and deliver an accurate outside perspective.

  • Make an action plan to initiate positive change.

  • Question limiting beliefs about your potential.

    • Reframe past experiences with a strong focus on making changes for the present    and future you.

  • Identify, set, and achieve goals.

  • Take real action and measure the results.

  • Adapt to life changes effectively.

  • Increase motivation.

  • Learn a new skill.


Definition of Therapy, also known as psychotherapy, counseling, mental health counseling: a long-term process in which a client works with a licensed healthcare professional to diagnose and resolve problematic beliefs, behaviors, relationship issues, feelings and sometimes physical responses or symptoms. 

Therapy/Psychotherapy oftentimes focuses on past traumas and issues to change self-destructive habits or behaviors, repair and improve relationships and work through painful feelings or emotional triggers. It’s important to recognize that counseling helps clients explore and understand their subconscious and unconscious mind. It aims to reach a deep understanding of behaviors and patterns with a goal of overall mental health. This is why counseling and therapy can be helpful for issues like depression and anxiety (and other mental health disorders and diagnoses). 

Therapy is conducted by a licensed healthcare professional who can help clients/patients confront and cope with a traumatic past, improve their relationships with others (and themselves), and identify, process, and deal with their feelings appropriately. A licensed therapist can also diagnose, monitor, and treat mental health issues. In general, therapists are past and present focused. While a therapist may work with clients to set goals and make changes, primarily clients come to them seeking assistance with healing trauma, overcoming abuse, treating addiction, or treating mental illness. Because therapists have a specialized graduate degree and clinical training and a license to practice independently, they have an extensive foundation of knowledge about the mind, biology, and human behavior. They are qualified to help clients in these sensitive areas, and, more importantly, they are properly trained on how to handle the volatile nature of these situations.

A therapist may also help clients in areas of life that overlap with the focus of a life coach, but they can also specifically do the following:

  • Treat mental illness or clinical anxiety or depression, with the ultimate goal of achieving better mental health.

  • Help you heal from past trauma.

  • Understand behavior patterns and triggers for self-destructive behaviors.

  • Explore past relationships that went wrong like divorces, estrangements, or toxic friendships.

  • Guide you through the grieving process.

  • Cope with traumatic loss or traumatic experience.

  • Help evaluate your unconscious and subconscious mind.

  • Treat addiction or substance abuse.

  • Cope with relationship turmoil, abuse, violence.

In other words, therapists focus more on the “why” certain behavioral patterns occur, and coaches focus more on “how” to work toward an identified goal.

Integrated Counseling Center & Consulting Services LLC
3400 Chapel Hill Road
Douglasville, GA 30135

PH# 828 484 2227 or 828 48-ICCCS
Fax# 404 529 4566
Email Address: [email protected]


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