The differences between coaching and counseling

iHope offers both professional counseling and life coaching. While there is certainly some overlap in the nature of these services, there are some important differences. Counselors and coaches are both trained and prepared to help clients find healing, change, and growth. Typically, the difference comes down to training to dig into deeper issues and the specific problem areas that a clinician is prepared to address.

All providers at iHope come from a Christian worldview and offer a safe, confidential, comfortable environment.

Life Coaching

Coaching focuses on helping a client move forward on a specific goal in their life. These goals may be in a variety of areas, such as work, lifestyle, or relationships. This is a professional relationship and is typically very focused on a specific concern and goal. In South Carolina, life coaches are not licensed by the state.

Professional Counseling

Professional counseling also works with a client to address goals. Counselors often help clients understand, process, and fix deeper issues or transitions in life. This may include processing past events, deep hurts, or destructive patterns and then actively building new patterns of thinking, relating, and acting. This does not mean that clients must have a severe mental illness or mental health concern, though professional counselors are trained to provide a diagnosis from the DSM-V if appropriate.

How do I know what is the best fit?

There are some questions that it may be helpful to consider and pray over as you pursue mental health services.

  • What is your struggle, concern, or goal?
  • How much do you want (or think it may be necessary) to dig into the past to work on this issue?
  • Are you dealing with a specialized area that needs a high level of expertise?
  • Would it be helpful for other people to join you in counseling (such as a spouse or child)?

Additional Resources

This article on Crosswalk provides a thorough exploration of how to choose between seeing a counselor, life coach, therapist, and pastor.