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Differences Between Life Coaching and Counseling; They Work Hand-In-Hand

... In today's article, I'll give you some differences between Christian life coaching and counseling as well as the benefits and objectives of each.

There are some similarities between life coaching and counseling, which is what can blur the important differences for those who are just starting out. In this article, I'll make it clear for you.

Quick question:  Does your church offer life coaching and/or counseling services? Why or why not? Statistics have shown adding these additional services and offering them to your community will bring in more members as they see the engagement of the church in the needs of your area. These services build relationships.
(We know this because we have trained thousands of Christian life coaches and counselors since 2003, many in churches, with graduates on every continent.)

Similarities include: both professions can work in a one-to-one, confidential relationship with their client. Both can also work with groups.  Both professions deal with life choices and behaviors. But the way we approach these topics is quite different from one profession to the other and our goals and objectives can be different as well.

Differences Between Coaching and Counseling Objectives

Life coaching:

- Is action oriented
- Deals with the present and future
- Helps the client move forward from a healthy state
- Helps the client do more, faster than he or she would be able to do on their own
- Helps the client take their goals and themselves more seriously
- Supports the client with exhortation and encouragement and sometimes tough love
- Helps the client strategize and offers suggestions as appropriate

The basic premise is that coaching clients are in a healthy place mentally and emotionally. They are ready and desire to receive support on how to make the changes to help them achieve their goals. This can also include creating and/or maintaining motivation for the stated change, creation and implementation of plans for change and exploration of obstacles in order to overcome them.

Life coaching is unlikely to be helpful if there are unresolved counseling issues.*

"Coaching does not fix your problems, it
inspires your thinking so your problems
can fix themselves."

Counseling:

- Deals with the past
- Works to heal hurts and emotional issues
- Helps the client become healthy and mentally stable
- Is not action oriented as much as discussion on internal issues
- Works with the cleitnt o help them arrive at solutions that work best for them.

Here are more benefits:

Counseling helps the client overcome and resolve issues from the past that have made them feel bad emotionally or are causing their inability to function in a healthy way.

These types of issues can include depression, trauma, anxiety, addictions, PTSD, etc.

It is a given that unless or until these issues are satisfactorily resolved, it may be difficult or impossible for the client to make the desired changes in their lives.

Once healthy behaviors are learned and established in counseling, life coaching can help to support the client in maintaining these healthy behaviors and choices.

NOTE: Christian counseling does not diagnose or treat clinical issues. We deal with situational causes. If there is a suspected chemical imbalance or other clinical issue, these clients are referred to qualified providers.

* In both the Christian Life Coach certification and Christian Counselor certification programs, this academy (PCCCA) teaches the student about the importance of referring a client they are not qualified to help.  

In our Christian Professional Life coach course, you learn how to identify those who should be referred to a Counselor as well as how to actually make a referral. Referrals need to be handled correctly so that the client sees it as helpful rather than becoming offended. We teach you exactly how to make an appropriate referral.

Differences in Outcomes

Coaching and counseling outcomes are generally quite different also. Coaching involves beginning where someone is today and helping them move forward to the best of their ability, to reach their goals and God-given destiny. Someone needs to be functioning reasonably well in their current life for coaching to be effective. Counseling and therapy are focused on healing someone from past hurts or emotional pain.

How do Life Coaching and Counseling Work Together?

There are a few different scenarios that we regularly see.

It's not unusual for a client come to a coach for help and then discover first need to address some issues with counseling before moving on to coaching. Remember, the client must be healthy and functioning in order for coaching to be effective.

Sometimes during the coaching relationship, events take place in the client's life that require counseling.

It is also typical for a counseling client to regain their emotional health and want to progress in their lives. It could also be they need coaching to sustain the healthy behaviors they learned during counseling.

The above are some of the main reasons our coaching students get certified in Christian Counseling and our counseling students follow up with a Christian Coaching certification.

The most important thing to remember is the benefit to your client.  When you as a coaching or counseling professional have already established a trusting relationship and reporte, it is preferable not to change providers.

But you can only do this if you are qualified to provide both coaching and counseling. Because our Christian Professional Life Coach Certification Course and our Christian Counselor Certification Course are a popular duo and often purchased together, we created Bundle #2 on the course bundles page to save you tuition dollars.

It's also crucial to remember that while life coaching is not regulated, counseling is.

The good news is almost all US states have language in their professional regulations / code that exempts faith-based or pastoral counseling from state licensing. This means that you must clearly identify yourself as a Christian, faith-based counselor and not represent yourself to be state licensed unless of course you are.

Faith-based counselors are generally required to be ordained or otherwise credentialled within a ministry. We teach our counseling students how to go about obtaining ordination if it's not available in your area.

Learn More ...
If you'd like to become a Professional Christian life coach and help others live better lives, I have courses that will give you powerful, new ways to help others. You'll graduate with respected credentials as you add profitable specialties to your arsenal of people-helping skills.  FIND YOUR COURSES HERE

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