Life Coaching and Counselling: What’s the Difference?

There are links between therapies and life coaching, but they are not based on working styles, methodologies, techniques, or tools: they are based on cause and effect. Even if they can intervene, life coaches should always refer clients suspected of requiring therapeutic assistance to fully trained and qualified professionals. The client’s agendas for life coaching and therapy are very different. There is no officially recognized body for professionally qualified life coaches in the United Kingdom. An overview of the procedures that are sometimes mistakenly confused with coaching is required to distinguish between coaching, counselling, and treatment.

Counselling, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnotherapy, and psychiatry are common examples. Take, for example, physiotherapy and coaching. At first glance, there appears to be no apparent link between them, though using one may lead to using the other. According to Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary, physiotherapy is “the treatment of disease…” This has nothing to do with life coaching. Life coaching does not treat physical or mental illnesses. It does help with the dis-ease, unease, or dissatisfaction of clients. It aids in treating low self-esteem and the inability to achieve desired results.

There could be a cause-and-effect relationship. If, for example, a client comes to you for encouragement and support while receiving treatment from their physiotherapist. Then your coaching could encourage the client to continue performing the exercises prescribed by their physiotherapy programme. Your coaching can significantly impact the client’s speed of recovery by encouraging and congratulating them on their progress and then assisting them in setting new goals. The inverse is less appealing. It could happen after you’ve encouraged your client to exercise to improve their health. Suppose they overstretch themselves and injure themselves while following your advice and encouragement.

In that case, they may need the help of a physiotherapist. However, keep in mind that these are superficial “cause-and-effect” relationships. There are no links relating to working methods. All of the other therapies mentioned include some form of personal history analysis. Typically, the therapist must delve into the client’s past to devise a treatment plan. To provide helpful advice, therapists must have extensive knowledge and ability.

Counselling, for example, may be required in the aftermath of a single, clearly identified trauma, such as bereavement, a severe accident to oneself or one’s family, divorce, or redundancy. Life coaching, on the other hand, is focused on the present and the future. It is based on the idea that the past does not have to be synonymous with the end. Most coaches do not advocate giving clients advice, preferring to act as a catalyst in assisting clients in defining their path forward. This is a very different way of working than a therapist or counsellor.

Many therapists and counsellors are drawn to a career in life coaching. This presents significant difficulties for them because coaching differs from how they have become accustomed to dealing with their patients. The decision to refer to them as a ‘patient’ or a ‘client’ aids in distinguishing intervention from guidance. Both professions investigate the patient’s past by uncovering previously created blocks or obstacles. Then they use interventions to remove these impediments or obstructions to the patient’s recovery. They employ techniques and language patterns that are specifically designed for this approach. These techniques are not required in life coaching. Indeed, they may cause issues for the coaching client, who may become confused and misunderstand the critical distinction between therapy and life coaching – that therapy works from the past, whereas life coaching begins in the present.

Life coaching does not circulate in the past, which is only relevant if it significantly impacts the coaching’s outcomes. In such cases, the life coach would probably designate the client to a specialist therapist for assistance, as therapeutic interventions are not part of the coaching process. Even if the life coach, such as myself, has the necessary therapy skills and qualifications, it is still more partial for the client to seek assistance from other professional sources. This recommendation is made because clients can quickly become demented about whether their sessions are therapy or coaching, which can irreparably harm the relationship.

The profound implication of combining therapy and life coaching is that a demented client may find neither beneficial. Suppose the client requires treatment and becomes disillusioned due to this boundary confusion. In that case, there is a risk that they will never seek or receive the help they need to live a fulfilling life again. This is a significant burden for the therapist and must be avoided at all costs. Additionally, a therapist should stick to therapy, and a life coach should stick to coaching during a session. The therapist can then focus on the past while the life coach deals with the present and future. There are no links between life coaching and psychiatry. If a life coach suspects a client may require such specialized care, they should not attempt a diagnosis. They should firmly but gently advise the client to see their doctor, trained to diagnose problems and recommend psychiatry or other treatment.

NLP contains some beneficial techniques for life coaching. This book’s NLP section identifies these, focusing on the linguistic aspects. It also discusses some neurological features that a life coach can employ. Therapeutic interventions are purposefully excluded. Life coaching is not about making changes. It is all about setting and achieving goals. There are no formally recognized professional qualifications for life coaching at the moment. Anyone – a carpenter, a doctor, or a preacher – could put a sign outside their door warning people to BEWARE OF THE LIFE COACH and then start advertising and practicing life coaching. Several good organizations provide training that leads to their life coaching qualifications. Training is provided through the day or residential courses, distance learning via the Internet, or a combination of the two. All life coaches must obtain some certification, which clients can check and verify if they are inclined. To protect the reputation of this still young but rapidly growing profession, all coaches should advocate the importance of thorough training and qualifications and adherence to a stringent code of ethics.

In a nutshell, you can help others achieve their goals and maximize their potential in life if you have a degree in life coaching. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the topics covered in this programme:

  • Coaching, psychology, cognition, and counselling are all compared.
  • Individual and organizational coaching techniques
  • Creating and interpreting evaluations
  • Ethics
  • Statistics and research

You will be better prepared to help your clients be the best they can be if you gain knowledge in these areas. You will learn to look ahead to advise your clients on how to improve their lives and achieve their objectives. As a life coach, you will work on with a wide range of people to assist them in reaching their full potential.

On the other hand, a professional counselling degree will prepare you to assist people suffering from mental and emotional disorders such as addiction, anxiety, and depression. This programme will teach you about the following:

  • Theories of counselling
  • Counselling’s cultural and social diversity
  • Counselling for Trauma
  • Addictions and psychopharmacology
  • Examining the physical consequences of drug abuse
  • The role of counselling in the treatment of psychopathology
  • How to conduct group testing, collect results, and analyses data.

While life coaching is concerned with the future, counselling is concerned with the past, present, and future. As a counsellor, you assist your patients in working through these difficulties so that they can find freedom.