Career Coach vs. Life Coach: What’s the Difference?

How is a life coach different from a therapist?

Life Coaching vs Therapy Explained

What is a life coach?

A life coach focuses on helping clients navigate personal challenges. When faced with significant life changes or when they want to make a significant change, people frequently consult life coaches. They might also work with a life coach if they have a strong desire to better themselves. A life coach may help a client:

What is a career coach?

A career coach’s main goal is to assist clients in achieving their professional objectives. When making significant career decisions or transitioning their careers, people frequently consult career coaches. A career coach may help a client:

Business coaches and career coaches are two different types of jobs that are occasionally used interchangeably. While career coaches concentrate on advancing individuals, business coaches assist entrepreneurs in creating successful businesses.

Career coaches are also sometimes called career counselors. Career counseling, in contrast to the work of a career coach, typically entails working only with students and recent graduates. Career counselors assist entry-level professionals in selecting the most appropriate career path. At all stages of their professional lives, people can benefit from career coaches.

Career coach vs. life coach

Nine significant distinctions exist between a life coach and a career coach.


While career coaches work to help their clients improve their professional lives, life coaches primarily help them do so. Life coaches may speak with their clients about their careers in relation to more introspective issues like purpose and work-life balance. But only a small portion of the discussions people have with their life coaches involve their professional lives.


Life coaches often work with people who seek self-discovery. Although these clients may be aware of what they want to accomplish, they frequently lack the knowledge of how to do so. The steps their clients must take to accomplish their personal goals are developed with the assistance of life coaches.

Typically, clients of career coaches are those who require specific assistance with their career paths. Additionally, they assist their clients in developing their professional connections.


In order to assist their clients in finding career solutions and achieving their goals, career coaches employ a variety of tangible tools, such as models and assessments. For instance, they could make use of the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator to assist people in locating their ideal industry or career. They also advise their clients to use time-tracking, resume-optimization, and content relationship management tools.

In order to help their clients move toward personal advancement, life coaches frequently rely more on conversations. Their primary goal is to assist clients in improving themselves by altering their perspectives or mindsets.

Advice style

Career coaches provide their clients with in-depth guidance on a variety of subjects, including advice on how to write a resume and conduct interviews. In order to have a lasting effect that clients can use throughout their lives, life coaches help their clients find the answers for themselves.

Nature of discussion

Life coaches’ conversations with clients can be intimate and emotional because they assist people with personal issues. These private exchanges contrast with the typically work-focused conversations people have with their career coaches.

Industry organizations

While both occupations are a part of the larger coaching industry, there are different organizations for career coaching and life coaching that offer education opportunities, certification programs, and training programs. The top professional association for career coaches is the National Career Development Association (NCDA). The largest professional association for life coaches is the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Personal fulfillment

Great career coaches are those who are passionate about the business world and want to assist others in achieving their professional goals. The more general nature of life coaching may personally satisfy those who want to help others improve their personal lives more.


Career coaches feel comfortable giving direct advice to clients. Additionally, they frequently understand the requirements of various professional industries. Some skills that many career coaches have include:

Since clients hire life coaches for personal assistance, those with the following skills are best suited for this position:

Education and certifications

The NCDA certification, which typically requires more than four years of study, and a bachelor’s degree in counseling, business, or a related field are prerequisites for the majority of career coaches. Since most life coaches only need to obtain the ICF certification in order to start their careers, becoming one frequently only requires a few months. However, a lot of clients favor hiring life coaches who have some work experience and professional success.

Should you be a life coach or career coach?

Depending on your interests and personality traits, both professions offer advantages that you might find appealing. If you want to improve people’s lives through dialogue and self-discovery, consider becoming a life coach. The time required to be a life coach is frequently reduced. If you want to provide people with specific, useful advice to help them advance their careers, think about becoming a career coach. To become a career coach, it might take a little more time.


Can a life coach help you find a career?

Whether they’re looking to start a new career or deciding which career to pursue, many people have learned how a life coach can help them achieve their goals. Working with a life coach can help us focus on specific goals and take meaningful actions to achieve those goals, which can help clear the way for success.

Do life coaches make a lot of money?

Life coach salaries range from $100 to $400 per hour, or typically $1000 to $4000 per client. (When I left private coaching, I was earning $6500 per private client working with clients in the US, UK, Canada, and the EU as a career coach who specialized in helping people find their passion.

Is a career coach worth it?

Pros. Industry expertise: If you hire the right career coach, your initial investment of a few hundred dollars will more than pay for itself over time. Good career coaches have years of experience in job recruitment or have worked in the field for a while, giving them a unique perspective.

What qualifications do you need to be a life coach?

As life coaching isn’t a regulated profession, you don’t need to have specific qualifications.

Most life coaches choose the profession as a second career and come to the role with previous experience in a range of backgrounds including:
  • business.
  • counselling.
  • human resources (HR)
  • psychology.
  • social care.

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