What is the difference between coaching and counseling?

Coaching and counseling are significantly different from each other. Counseling is focused on a diagnosis and solving a problem/crisis, whereas coaching is rooted in preventative and maintenance mental health. 

  • Some examples of a counseling role:
    • Treatment of a mental health diagnosis
    • Crisis intervention
    • Addiction treatment
    • Treatment of trauma
    • Reflection and processing of past experiences
  • Some examples of a coaching role:
    • Support through life transitions
    • Encouragement of self-discovery
    • Teaching of function based skills/tools
    • Future focused goal setting
    • Discovery and clarity focused interviewing
    • Accountability

Why would I seek a coach?

You have a big opportunity in front of you, you wish to make the best of. 

You have a lack of clarity about yourself or future. 

You lack the skills or tools needed to achieve or maintain success. 

You feel overwhelmed by responsibilities and wish to make more space for personal time. 

You hope to achieve success in a certain area faster. 

Am I ready to hire a coach?

It is important to know what you are hoping to accomplish through life coaching. Refer back to the list of coaching and counseling roles to see which would address your needs best. Clarity about what you are hoping to accomplish is important before contacting a coach. 

Ask yourself these questions before committing to coaching:

  • Am I ready to dedicate time and energy to change and growth?
  • Am I ready and willing to make difficult lifestyle changes?
  • Do I have unresolved mental health, addiction, or trauma related issues that need to be addressed before coaching would be an effective choice for me?

How do I determine if a coach is qualified to coach?

Because coaching is an unlicensed profession, it is largely unregulated. It is important to understand what to look for in a potential coach. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Ask about experience, how long the coach has been in business, and a rough estimate of how many clients the coach as worked with.
  • Ask about education, certification, association memberships, and how the coach learned the skills necessary to practice coaching.
  • Ask for for client or colleague references. 
  • Ask if the coach maintains his/her own personal coach. 

Will my insurance pay for coaching?

Unfortunately, coaching is considered an alternative service and is not covered by conventional insurance. There are coaches that offer sliding scales or discounted services for those unable to pay. There are also newer coaches who offer discounted services as they are building their practices. 

How can I report a grievance?

The Idaho Life Coach Association can provide a way to appropriately bring complaints to its members and address conflicts. Grievances provide effective teaching opportunities for coaches and our aim is to resolve any complaint. The board will review the complaint and determine if member sanctions are necessary. 

How can I become a coach?

There are many avenues to becoming a successful coach. The key ingredients for successful coaching are these:

  1. Dedication to your own personal growth
  2. A passion for inspiring others
  3. Quality education
  4. Practice and experience

The best way to start your journey to becoming a coach is to hire your own personal coach. Having experience receiving coaching is the very best way to challenge your own personal growth, observe how a successful coach runs his/her practice, and clarify your own vision and practice.

There are many books, workshops, and certification programs available to develop your skillset and knowledge. As a member of the ILCA, you will receive access to a list of verified books and workshops helpful to growing and sustaining a coaching practice. It is important to be cautious of high-priced certification programs as there are many which are unregulated and non accredited and may not be helpful in achieving your objectives. 

Even with quality education and personal accountability to a coach, there is no substitute for practice. It is important to collaborate with other coaches and practice your skills. This is also a benefit of joining associations like the ILCA where access to other coaches and training opportunities is constant.