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The similarities and differences between counseling and life coaching are:

Counseling and life coaching are similar, in the sense that both are aimed at helping people live better lives. However, the similarity ends there. Counseling involves therapy, for which practitioners require certification and/or licensure. Qualifications for Life Coaching skills can be developed and learned without a formal qualification or certification; however, credentials are advised.

Counseling helps clients process their past experiences and release pain. Life coaching focuses on the present and the future, overall, a life coach does not prescribe treatment. Finally, counseling helps reinstate stability and functionality, while life coaching empowers people to make better decisions for themselves.

However, if a Life Coach is trained in Mental Health and psychological concepts, along with the ability to conduct behavioral interviews, this can add a level of quality to the coaching experience.

7 benefits of life coaching for clients are:

1. The process helps with clarity of thought through questioning, etc.

2. Clients are able to examine their lives objectively and live their lives to the fullest extent.

3. Life coaches are able to help clients identify what they really want in their lives.

4. Clients are able to understand mental blocks and insecurities that may be preventing clients from moving forward.

5. You can help clients enjoy fulfilling relationships with loved ones.

6. Life coaching helps promote better work-life balance.

7. As a life coach, you can help raise the levels of accountability and commitment.

8. As a life coach, you can teach the concepts of emotional intelligence.

The definition of life coaching is defined as:

Life coaching is a professional partnership between a coach and individual focused on the discovery of one’s life direction and is based on a holistic and action-based approach that promotes the process of understanding overall life purpose. To further clarify and understand what life coaching is, it is often helpful to refer to what it is not. Within helping professions, there are several overarching themes and competencies that one must possess and understand to be successful. However, there are also distinctions between the focus and practice of these professions that should be made clear that enable one to recognize the scope and limitations of life coaching. Again, counseling is a helping profession that should be made distinct from life coaching to illuminate ones understanding. Life coaching is not clinical counseling.

Counseling is oriented toward healing and brokenness.

Counseling restores and maintains stability and functionality.

Counseling is focused on insight regarding the past and how to relieve pain.

Counseling includes the utility of the DSM (Diagnostic Statistics Manual) and the forming of a treatment plan.

The counselor is generally seen as an expert that can provide intervention, insight, and advice that could not be gained without the counselors help.

Coaching is oriented toward health, wholeness, and potential.

Coaching embarks on a journey toward fullness and calling.

Coaching is focused on the future and how to pursue realistic goals, passions and dreams.

Coaching usually includes the establishment of personal goals and measures progress toward objectives.

Coaching is generally seen as a partner, guide, and catalyst in the client discovering their own path and defining their own way to make progress toward their goals.

Coaching focuses on present and future performance and effectiveness throughout broad range of life issues.

Coaching is often oriented toward promoting good decision-making and gathering of tools that will continue to serve the client in the future endeavors and life objectives methodology is supportive and facilitative in nature.

The coaching professional is generally skilled in providing information and resources for the client from a broad range of fields and networks.

The big question, are counselors capable of delivering the goods of a life coach? The answer is a resounding yes. Are life coaches capable of delivering the goods of a counselor? Not according to most state laws. Instead, life coaches should have the skills to recognize their limitations and make the necessary referrals that will meet the client’s needs and expectations.

Concepts adapted from New Skills Academy, UK and The Center for Life Calling & Leadership, USA