What’s the Difference: A Life Coach vs a Counselor

The distinction between professional counseling or therapy and professional life coaching lies primarily in their foundational approaches and objectives. Counseling and therapy are rooted in the medical and psychological sciences, focusing on diagnosing and treating mental health issues, emotional distress, and psychological disorders. Therapists and counselors typically hold advanced degrees in psychology, social work, or counseling, and are licensed to provide clinical treatments. Their work often involves exploring past experiences and trauma to help clients understand and manage their mental health. In contrast, professional life coaching does not delve into mental health diagnosis or treatment but centers on personal development and achieving specific life or career goals.


Professional life coaches concentrate on the present and future, helping clients identify goals, overcome obstacles, and develop actionable plans to achieve their desired outcomes. Unlike therapists, life coaches do not require advanced degrees or clinical training but often hold certifications from coaching organizations. They employ motivational techniques and strategic planning rather than therapeutic methods to support clients in enhancing their performance and reaching their potential. Life coaching sessions are generally more structured and goal-oriented, focusing on practical steps and accountability. This forward-looking approach appeals to individuals seeking guidance on personal growth, career transitions, or improving specific life skills. 


Despite these differences, there is some overlap in the skill sets of counselors and life coaches, particularly in areas like active listening, empathy, and effective communication. Both professionals aim to support and empower their clients, though their methodologies and scopes of practice differ significantly. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for individuals seeking help, as choosing the right professional depends on their specific needs—whether they require mental health treatment and emotional healing through therapy, or guidance and motivation to achieve personal and professional milestones through life coaching. Ultimately, both professions offer valuable resources for personal development and well-being, each with its unique strengths and focus areas. Here at PATH Counseling and Wellness, we provide both counseling and life coaching services because we want to reach people wherever they are on their journey in life.

Join Our Team


WE ALSO HAVE Internship and Associate OPPORTUNITIES throughout the year

For more information please fill out the form below

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Under Section 2799B-6 of the Public Health Service Act, the “No Surprises Act,” health care providers are required to give clients who do not have insurance or who choose not to use their insurance an estimate of the bill for health care items and services. 

You have the right to receive a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) showing costs of items and services you can reasonably expect for your health care needs. The Good Faith Estimate does not include any unknown or unexpected costs that may arise during treatment. 

If you receive a bill that is at least $400 more than your Good Faith Estimate, you may dispute the bill. 

  • You may contact the health care provider listed to let them know the billed charges are higher than the GFE. You may ask them to update the bill to match the GFE, negotiate the bill, or ask if financial assistance is available. 
  • You may start a dispute resolution process with the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If you choose to use the dispute resolution process, you must start the dispute process within 120 calendar days of the date on the original bill.