A Personal Take On Life Coaching

Coaching spelled out.

Life Coaching is a lot like the wild, wild west!


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. What many people do not realize is that the term, “Coaching” comes from sports. In the late 1880’s or so, 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.”


     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. 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: 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, 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.

Published by Ryan W. McClellan

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

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