You’re 35 years-old and your life isn’t where you expected it would be at this point. You just turned 50, got divorced, and don’t know how to manage the next stage in your life. Or you recently graduated from college and you’re just not sure in which direction you want to proceed.
So, how do you navigate all that life has to offer and all that’s ahead of you without a definite plan? You can read self-help books or take online courses about managing your life, your time, your relationships, and more. Or you can take the plunge and schedule some time to chat with a life coach, who can work with you to get things in order…or back in order.
What is a life coach?
At the risk of being a bit cliché, a life coach is a person who professes to be someone who can help you become “the best YOU that you can be”. Though that might sound a little hokey, it’s true. Life coaches work with individuals to help them identify their wishes and desires and then to form strategies to achieve those goals, resulting in a more complete and fulfilling existence.
How is coaching different from therapy?
You might be thinking, “I’ve already undergone therapy to help with some life issues, so how will I benefit from coaching?”.
Well, the two are different…though there might be some crossover between them at times. As a matter of fact, many people take advantage of therapy first and then proceed to find a life coach to hone their newly found strengths and help them make the most of what they’ve discovered about themselves during therapy sessions.
In addition, while therapy tends to explore past experiences that have impacted your life, coaching allows you to be intentional about your future life, so to speak, and find out what inspires you and what your passions might be. So, while a therapist might explore why you can’t hold a job or maintain a career, the life coach will help you discover the best career for your skills and personality.
Are therapists and coaches the same?
The major difference between therapists and life coaches is the level of training received by each. A therapist is a licensed mental health professional who diagnoses and treats mental health conditions. Counselors earn master’s degrees and psychologists have earned a doctorate before hanging their shingle, so to speak.
On the other hand, there are no educational requirements in order to advertise oneself as a life coach. There are many companies that offer life coach certification or life coaching courses, but those who bill themselves as life coaches are not required to achieve those certifications or take those classes. Hence, you’re not sure what you’re going to get when signing up for sessions with a life coach.
While many individuals who advertise as a life coach are passionate about helping others to fulfill their ambitions and achieve their goals, others who claim to be life coaches are simply ill-equipped to do any sort of coaching. They have basically no training, and the lack of regulation in the field means they can represent themselves as something they truly aren’t.
Therefore, if you’ve located a coach that you believe you’d like to work with, some delving into their background is necessary and it’s a good idea to seek referrals before you hire them and pay them for their services.
So, do I need a counselor or a life coach?
Therapy and coaching both help people and both can be a road to happiness, self-satisfaction, and better self-esteem. But which do you need?
A good way to figure this out is to remember that you need to do the healing first. If you have situations in your past that are holding you back and you haven’t gone back and addressed those situations, you’re probably a candidate for therapy rather than for life coaching. If you need to work through trauma, all the life coaching in the world may not help you to move forward.
However, if you’re not working through past issues or you’ve already faced those and feel you are healed, then life coaching may be enough to set you on the way to realizing your dreams and achieving your goals. Or if you feel like the positive effects of your therapy sessions have plateaued, if might be time to move on to life coaching.
Dr. Ellie Bolgar and her associates have decades of collective experience in both therapy to heal past wounds and coaching to help you achieve your ultimate goals. Not sure which is right for you? For more information on all of our services, contact us at 604-371-0198.