Is Life Coaching separate from or part of Counselling?

In my practice I see clients who seek help with a variety of issues where the work involves a form of ‘life coaching’. There are clients who want to become more assertive either in their family unit, at work, socially or generally. In the counselling room we explore various situations/scenarios which clients wish to handle more effectively and we work out new, different ways of coping which have more productive outcomes for them. Between sessions, clients try to put into practice what we have discussed and we review how they get on in the next session, learn from that and look at continuing with those strategies and/or working out further ways of encouraging sustained effective assertiveness. Over the course of time, varying in each case, clients develop confidence in their ability to cope. This type of work is informal ‘life coaching’ yet it is an essential part of the counselling process.

Other areas of counselling work involve ‘life coaching’ as an integral part of the counselling process. For example, anger management when the focus of work is to find more effective ways of being for clients where there is tension and conflict. Depression, when there is a need to work out changes in life style, including nutrition, diet and exercise, to encourage fuller participation in activities, social relationships and work. Also, eating disorders where more effective strategems are needed with regard to exercise and buying, preparing and eating food to promote more positive, balanced well-being.

Life Coaching is a specialist field with the requirement of specialist training, qualifications, experience and practice. However, it can be argued that, informally, at some level, counsellors may deliver a life coaching role to their clients and, in this way, life coaching is not separate from, but can be regarded as an important part of counselling.