life-coach-1Before I get started I want to say this: there are life coaches out there that have helped people to live more fulfilling lives and attain their goals. With that being said, not all life coaches are created equal- just as how not all counselors are created equal either.

When you are searching for a provider, whether it is a doctor, a dentist, a carpenter, or a life coach, you want to know that you are getting the very best care and service (or at least great care and service). After all, your hard-earned dollars are at stake as well as your mental and physical well-being! Certainly not a decision that should be taken lightly.

So to make your search a little bit easier, I have put together this guide to help you find a great life coach. Many people who look for a life coach believe that, overall, their life is pretty good. They likely have a job, perhaps have a family with a couple children and are looking to get that little something more out of life… Or they are strong and independent individuals looking to further and advance their careers or social network. They could also be looking to make a big change in their lives and are seeking support and guidance. Perhaps they are some combination thereof.

The point is that they are not typically looking for treatment for depression or anxiety or another form of “mental illness”. Many may have searched for ways to reduce stress, better manage their time, improve their resume or their networking skills, etc. They are positive people looking to increase their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. They appear to be the perfect candidates for life coaching. Or at least that’s what they have been led to believe…

So what’s the difference between a life coach and a counselor anyway? Life coaches would have you believe that they are growth-focused while counselors focus on the negative, on the problems that one is facing. This could not be further from the truth. Let’s look at the real differences between life coaches and counselors:

To become a counselor you need:

  • A minimum of six years of college
  • 2 years of full-time post-master’s experience and supervision
  • State-sanctioned tests for licensure
  • Continuing education

To become a life coach:

  • Call yourself a life coach and start seeing clients!

The truth is that many of the successful life coaches have a background in counseling and therapy. Many of them are licensed professional counselors. Many counselors have realized that by referring to themselves as life coaches, they eliminate the stigma of mental health. Not only that, but they can charge a lot more for the service and do the same work they were doing before! Many life coaches are charging hundreds of dollars for a 45-minute phone call!

If you want to hire the very best life coach, hire a counselor! Any great counselor is by extension a great life coach. Don’t be fooled by the imitators! We, as counselors, are the original life coaches!