Counselling or Life Coaching. How to choose.

As someone who has training in both counselling and life coaching, I recognise that there are similarities but also significant differences between the two approaches.

Both involve a therapeutic one-to-one relationship where the client's personal issues and difficulties are explored and addressed. Both will usually take place once a week in hourly sessions. Both will involve looking at options and possible solutions.

The differences are mainly around the more practical nature of life coaching. While counselling will often involve the exploration of issues in the past and how these have affected the present, life coaching will almost totally involve ways in which a better future can be created from the present.

This is done by means of goal setting, both short term, medium term and long term and the life coach will encourage the client to stick to these goals in order to evolve from their present state of "stuckness". Emotional exploration is not usually a feature of life coaching, unless it affects the achievement of reaching set goals.

So life coaching may work for you if you feel "stuck in a rut" - if you feel life could be better but you don't know how to achieve it. If you have certain goals which you would like to achieve, such as weight loss, finding a new job, improving health and fitness, becoming more sociable etc.

If however you know you have difficulties that have a high emotional component which you know would be helpful to explore, and/or issues from the past which have never been properly dealt with, then counselling may well be the better way forward for you.

"Last year, I found myself in need of coaching. I had dreams about my career and life all scattered around me, like unassembled Lego. Realising I was in over my head, I reached out to a coach for a one-off session."

- Read more about the difference between coaching and counselling from someone who has experienced both

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