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  • Writer's pictureStand Sure In Life

Life Coaching vs Counselling

Life coaching and counselling often get confused. There is a slight overlap with the objectives of counselling and life coaching in that they both help to bring about a positive change in a person’s life. They can also both help raise self-awareness. Both explore barriers that affect our wellbeing and effectiveness. Both, hopefully, lead you to a more fulfilled life. However, there are some big differences between the two and in this blog I’ll explore some of the differences.


First the big difference its that a counsellor needs to be qualified to offer ‘treatment’. You can not practise as a counsellor until you have completed a course (or two). You can either study at university, college, or training with a counselling organisation. The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) recommends a three stage route which can take three to four years.

Life coaches don’t need any formal qualifications. There are courses available (I’ve done a couple) to help you have a better understanding of what you can and can’t (should or shouldn’t) do. Of course, getting a qualification in life coaching can add to your credibility and like BACP there are coaching associations you can join to help with this. However to join the association you need to have participated in a recognised course.

Treatment or Support

Both offer support in one way or another.

A counsellor is qualified to offer a treatment. They offer therapy with the aim of healing.

Coaching is orientated towards health, potential, and wholeness. A life coach will not prescribe a treatment.

Past or Future

Counselling will work towards healing the past and releasing pain. It’ll help you cope with triggers and memories. A counsellor will likely work a plan with you but it won’t necessarily be one of moving forward rather a plan of healing (which yes will help you move on from the pain).

Life coaching will help you focus on the present and the future. It’ll help motivate you to pursue your passion and dreams. It will acknowledge the past but the emphasis is placed on the now and the future. Planning and action are the key words here.

Back To Life, Forward To Reality

A counsellor will offer insights and intervention. They will help you reinstate functionality and stability. They will help you bring peace back to your life. They will show you empathy and understanding. They will likely offer advice on how to cope and heal the past.

A life coach is a partner or guide. They will help you progress on your life path and discover your own calling. It will help empower you to make better decisions. They will ask the right questions to help you discover the “right” answer. Based on your answers they’ll help you plan.

There are clearly benefits to both areas. I think one of the reasons I decided to do life coaching rather than counselling is the desire to help people move forward in their life. Yes counselling can help heal the past which of course will help you move forward, but I like the idea that we acknowledge the past but don’t let have a hold over us any more. With that said, I’m considering training as a counsellor as well.

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