counselor or coach
Intentional Living,  Mental Health

Should I Hire A Counselor Or A Coach? Advice To Live Your Best Life

Should I hire a counselor or a coach? Many paths exist for seeking guidance in your life. This may lead you towards questioning the difference between counseling and coaching.

Though in the same category of for helping others, similarities and differences when looking into your options.

What are the goals of a counselor, a coach, a mentor and sponsor?

How to I choose the best one for my personal needs?

Which one fits into my budget? Let’s discuss the difference between counseling and coaching.

Before we do, take a look at a few definitions for the different types of help professionals.

Should I hire a counselor or a coach?

Should I Hire A Counselor Or A Coach? Definitions

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor is generally defined as someone willing to financially support a cause or individual. They supply funds for projects that they support. However, sponsor can have alternative definitions.

Recovery communities use the term to define an individual who will “show you the ropes” if you will. Historically in recovery circles, in the beginning groups were so small you literally needed someone to bring you in to even be invited. Groups were very anonymous and private. In modern times a sponsor is simply someone who shows you how to do what they did. It is suggested you find someone who has personal qualities you are looking to achieve and discover how they met their personal life goals.

TIP: Use a sponsor if you need financial support or a mentor in recovery.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is an experienced individual willing to train and or advise you on something they are well informed on based off of personal experience. They generally do not require formal training, but many have invested in personal education via mentors who have come before them. The most valuable thing we have in life is time, and mentors can save someone time and money by offering their personal life experiences and testimony to their success.

The role of a mentor can range from simple emotional support and motivation to more formal avenues and paid training programs.

TIP: Use a mentor if you need help learning a new skill or are just looking for advice from someone with more personal experience than you.

What is a coach?

A coach is a helping professional who may or may not have formal training. Coaches sometimes see themselves as more beneficial to future growth. Some coaches criticize counselors for spending too much time focusing on the past while they are focused on success in the future. Coaches are concerned with the present and the future, not the past. The International Coach Federation has defined coaching pretty specifically as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Coaches should help clients produce fulfilling results in their lives by observing their personal strengths and encouraging them to succeed with assets they already possess, as stated by the ICF. “The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources and creativity that the client already has.”

TIP: Use a coach when you are looking for guidance on how to turn your present goals into a future reality with an actionable plan.

What is a counselor?

A counselor generally experiences the most training from any of the help professions listed above. Counselors become experts for providing guidance on personal, social or psychological problems. If you have diagnosed psychological issues, a counselor becomes your best choice because of their training and medical and psychological knowledge.

Counseling is more concerned with moving someone from a point of dysfunction to a point where they are empowered and healed.

TIP: Use a counselor when you need help healing from the past, working through trauma and are also looking for guidance into a healthier future.

So, what is the difference between counseling and coaching?

The two main differences between counseling and coaching and the amount of formal education required to practice and their main focus.

Go here to read my online counseling review.

Why choose a coach?

So, when deciding on whether I choose a counselor a coach, consider the following…

If you are not struggling with any past trauma or psychological issues and are simply looking at how to streamline your life, creatively meet your goals and receive educated and guided encouragement, a coach is perfect for you. A coach is going to focus on your present and how to meet your future goals with strengths that you already have. If you know what you want and are just not sure how to get there, a coach can guide you in the way you want to go.

It is always easier to see things from an outside perspective. Have you ever been able to diagnose your best friend’s problems so clearly, and struggled with a similar issue in your own life without being able to follow your own advice? I know I can relate to that 100%.

A coach is trained and experienced at giving you guided advice that applies to your personal circumstances. They will be able to see things in a fresh way and use their experience with success to help meet your personal goals by listening, being personable and building a relationship.

Why choose counseling?

The best thing about a counselor is that they can do anything a coach can do and help you clean up the past a bit, too. This was one of the main differences between counseling and coaching.

Even if your past trauma is not deep or scarring, sometimes small things can be holding us back from progressing with full potential. Though coaches deal mainly with the present and future and can help with personal guidance, they are typically not trained to deal with past psychological issues.

The great thing about counseling is that once you are engaged with someone and building a relationship, they are fully trained to fulfill the roles of a coach and deal with the past as well. In other words, a counselor can do everything a coach can do. So once you have dealt with your past, you can move forward without switching helping professionals.

So, should I hire a counselor or a coach? It depends on my goals.

After reading the above, which do you choose for helping you live your best life today?

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2 Comments

  • Arlin | About Social Anxiety

    This is very helpful! I was just thinking about this issue myself, since it seems as though coaches are becoming more common and they may see people with mental health issues as well. Hopefully, they are trained to recognize when someone would benefit from seeing a therapist and make that suggestion.

  • alisonsnotebook

    That’s exactly why I’ve never tried offering coaching for this blog – because I feel like I talk about mental health and *don’t ever* want to position myself as a mental health professional! Just an awkward girl whose been to a lot of therapy and likes to write. Lol.

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