My Take On Life Coaching

Okay, let’s clear the air here: I am not a Life Coach…

     I am a Certified Life Counselor through the International Coaching Federation, or ICF, but every time I think of the term: “Coach,” I get a rather disturbing image in my head of elementary school, with my gym teacher telling me to climb that weaved rope faster. I can hear his voice: “Just two more pulls!” “You’re almost there!” “Keep it up!”

I feel that though by technicality I am a Life Coach in its own form, I prefer to call myself a Counselor. But why is that? Is it based on shame, or is it simply because the connotation of the word: “Coach” demeans the nature of the work put forth? Think about this: The average Life Coach charges between $65 and $85 a session, whereas a typical therapist will require insurance to cover the $200-$300 cost of a one-hour session.

The Difference

     What many people do not realize is that the term, “Coaching” comes from sports. In the 1880’s,where sports teams began to enact motivational individuals that had one job: to maintain the morale of the players while in the dugout or on the sidelines. It was not until the early 2000s that a number of Coaching organizations popped up, including the International Coaching Federation, which I am currently certified through, and the International Association of Coaches (IAC).

     A Life Counselor, on the other hand, is actually no different. The sheer fact that the word: “Counselor” delineates pragmatism is my personal reason for using that term rather than “Coach.” Though at this point in my life I am expanding to Business Consulting, I still remain adamant to help people. But it is amazing how psychology works. There are thousands of Life Coaches in the United States alone, yet there are almost no “Life Counselors” in this game we call “mock therapy.”

Mock Therapy

     The difference between a Life Coach (or Counselor) is found solely in the name. I like to think of either as the “easier method” to help people. Becoming a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist (or anything psychology-related or counseling-related, for that matter) takes years upon years of school, residency and internships, and in the end I honestly feel that by the time the student is graduated and ready to work, they have exhausted themselves to the point where their work will be biased to a greater or lesser extent. This leads to poor performance.

     Therapy and Life Coaching go hand-in-hand. They both have the same goal: to help those who cannot help themselves. And just like a therapist chooses a specialty, so does a Life Coach. However, the differences are not so subtle. Therapists need to be properly insured and willing to take insurance as payment; otherwise, a session would cost $300 for an hour rather than the copay of $75-$95 an hour. In the end, the goal is to help others, but this does not mean either is better.

Regulation & Licensing

If you want my honest opinion, choose Valiance Coaching and test us out. We’re open to working with you on pricing, and feel free to read more about us here. That is the one advantage of Life Counseling (I’m sorry, Life COACHING): there is no regulation! That is what I would consider the biggest difference between the two: psychologists require a license to practice. Life Coaches can easily become certified for a small fee, and even if the Coach has no license (all of which are based on organizations that are, in no way, shape or form, defining indications that said Coach is qualified to be one).

In The End…

     In the end, do some research based on what you need help with. A Life Coach needs to be qualified to help you, and if you are suffering from mental illness or depression, dish out the extra money for a qualified, licensed Psychologist. If you need help figuring out a six-month plan to achieve a certain goal, a Life Coach is for you.

     Check out our services for more information on how we can help!


Author: Ryan W. McClellan

Entrepreneur, Author & Business Consultant With A Background In Multimedia & Content Development

7 thoughts on “My Take On Life Coaching”

  1. Ryan, I would be very careful here. Is a medical doctor exhausted from all his/training, thus can not effectively perform his/her job? Education informs us, not tires us. Internships are needed so that students can train under experienced and licensed professionals. Licensed clinicians (like myself) are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Life coaches have relatively little training. Using the term “counselor” seems very deceiving.

    1. To agree to disagree 🙂 I hear your point loud and clear, and believe me when I say you are correct! However, bear in mind the fact that I have my education, not just a license. Be careful to judge…

  2. A clear and well-expressed post Ryan. Thanks for sharing! I am a Creative Life Coach with a poetry blog and today’s here is today’s in case you have time to look?

    I am also on Instagram as #coachingcreatively, let’s follow each other if you use this medium? You can also find me on Facebook under Sam Allen wearing a bright red and orange hat!

    I love connecting with fellow coaches and creatives as you can see!

    Sunny greetings from Switzerland!

    Sam 🙂

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