Is Life Coaching Better Than Counseling?

Everyday millions of people are faced with dilemmas such as depression, stress, anxiety, obesity, and other mental health issues. While most are accustomed to seeking out help from a mental health professional such as a counselor, more recently some are calling upon a life coach to support them.

Over the years counseling has proven to be an effective methodology in helping some people address their emotional well being. However, one of the many drawbacks of counseling is that it mostly focuses on the past and has little to do with helping people move forward in their lives.

For example, many people who suffer from depression do so because they are unhappy with their life. Whether they are miserable at work, have poor relationships, or lack meaning or purpose in their life, these individuals have entered into a downward spiral where the onset of depression sets in.

A counselor can then help their client understand how they became depressed by providing a form of talk therapy that helps them delve into their past decisions and emotional state. During this process they can provide some reflection and insight into their choices and behaviors. Unfortunately, this is where counseling leaves off.

Whereas with life coaching, the client will be inspired to focus on what it is they want to create for themselves and then are given weekly assignments and encouragement to help them achieve their goals so that they can create what it is they want which will in turn eventually bring them out of depression.

Some individuals have also reported that they feel better after a coaching session then they do a counseling session because one focuses on the negative while the other focuses on the positive. The quote by Esther Jno-Charles states “What you focus on expands” and does a good job of summarizing this point.

That being said, many life coaches also claim that they have a difficult time supporting their clients when they are still stuck in the past because they have not let go or processed old emotions. While a coach can help their client achieve their goals, they are not necessarily trained enough to help them delve deep into old traumatic wounds that could be affecting their client.

While there seems to be a debate in the human potential movement with regards to which methodology is better, it clearly seems that both have merit since counseling focuses on supporting the client’s past while coaching focuses on the present and future. In the end it really depends on what you want to accomplish.

If you feel as though you have old wounds that could be impacting your present state of being, then it would be wise to seek out counseling before you begin working with a life coach.