Many of our friends, acquaintances, and potential clients often wonder what the difference is between various professionals in the ‘helping field’. In fact, many people often ask us what the differences are between coaches and the rest of us in this health and wellness industry. So today, this question will be addressed with our greatest hope that you feel more informed after reading this brief description. In doing so, may each of you go about choosing the ‘right’ professionals, whom you consider to be the most ‘professional’ and the with whom you will be entrusting your life’s most personal issues, concerns and ‘road blocks’!
Social Workers, Therapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists focus on the holistic aspects of a person’s life. We work from a person’s past, and then towards the present & future. Once we are in the present again, we then focus on applying strategies in overcoming issues. We believe that without the past we can not move forward. However, we DO NOT only focus on the past. Many of us practitioners not only use traditional, non-traditional methods, but we also look at the entire person in compassionately understanding all major areas in their life. So we essentially ‘explore’ issues and circumstances more thoroughly, to get back into our client’s present. We also expect accountability and offer current up-to-date strategies and steps to achieving success over certain issues. Yes, for more serious issues such as sexual abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, trauma etc, traditional counselling has focused primarily on the client’s past. However, new age counselling such as mine offer unique traditional techniques together with ‘out of the box’ or new-age solutions. This requires an extensive educational background and experience through work and practicums before we can even begin to practice.
At this time, our society is actually saturated with Coaches of all sorts (whether they are business coaches or life coaches) but the potential client needs to understand that practically anyone can become a Coach. There is no required education at this time to become a Coach of any sort. And most Coaches base their ‘expertise’ on their life experience and personalities. Some will do a course in a ‘Life Coach’ institute, training program or additional courses, but they’re not required to. In fact, these ‘credentials’ they carry are the ones issued by are typically online courses or institute courses with little or no supervision. For the government to pay for a client’s services through employment or health insurance, the client has to go to an actual licensed provider.
And one more crucial difference between Coaches and the rest of us is that we not only have to go through many years of schooling to provide our clients with the most up-to-date, knowledgeable and skilled info but we also HAVE TO REGISTER with a Body or Organization which we pay a large annual fee to practice and we are accountable to this organization. So if a client were to put in a complaint or want to sue a registered professional they could successfully do so. The professional must remain accountable at all times to their Regulatory Board or Organization. So, the rest of us registered professionals, must abide by a Code of Ethics by remaining accountable to these Regulatory Boards. Not only could a professional’s work insurance (which also requires a hefty annual fee) be revoked but their entire practice (and livelihood) could also be revoked!
So clients ARE protected from any professionals who could potentially harm their client or abuse their privileged position.
But Coaches DO NOT have a regulatory board that monitors and regulates them and so clients are NOT protected in case of complaints or law suits. Coaches are neither licensed, nor can they legally accept insurance.
So next time any of you are out shopping for a Registered Social Worker, Therapist, Counsellor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or even a Coach…please remember these crucial differences. This information will prevent you from potential heartaches, issues and unpleasant experiences in your immediate future!