What's the difference between a life coach and a career coach?

August 23, 2021

Life and work seem to be mixed these days, inthe wake of COVID where most knowledge workers have been working from home withtheir families listening into their zoom calls. Especially at times like this,it can feel like you need a coach – someone to ask you questions and enable youthrough the daily challenges of the professional world. So, is it a life coachor a career coach you need?

Career coaching focused on your professionalwork skills, relationships, and goal setting, to enable you a clear pathtowards achieving your work aspirations (Yarborough, J. P., 2018). Careercoaching, or sometimes called professional coaching, can be started at anystage of your career, and gives methodology to support you to make the bestprofessional decisions for you.

Benefits ofCareer Coaching

·      Gives Confidence

·      Teaches professionalskills that help in today's world

·      Enables strongrelationships and networks

·      Builds a strong and technicallyattractive resume

·      Improves decision-making

·      Helps in making a planthat leads to your destination.

Career Coachingis Different from Life Coaching

Life coaching deals with yourlifestyle, and decisions about relationships, goals and ways of being your bestself outside of work (Garcia, N. M., 2015). While it is true that if you’reworking on developing your skills and character outside of work, this will havebenefits and transfer over to your professional career, and vice versa, lifecoaching and career coaching us different techniques, and the coachesthemselves are specialized and trained differently. To paint the differencebetween life coaching and career coaching more specifically:

·      Career coaching is relatedto your job or goal; life coaching is related to personal achievement.

·      Career coaching helps infinding professional opportunities and career shifting, life coaching helps inlife planning, making fine relationships in a society with others.

·      Both career coaching andlife coaching use techniques and models grounded in positive psychology.

·      Career coaching gives astrong attitude towards jobs, help in making career plans, life coaching dealswith mental health development and your plans for your personal life.

·      Career coaching givesleadership style and attitude while life coaching gives purpose in life.

Your career coach will probably havea background in psychology or HR and should be qualified with the ICF or EMCCor another globally recognized body. Life coaching is less regulated than careeror professional coaching, so it’s important you take references and get to knowthe background of your life coach before deciding on how much influence theyshould have in your mental frameworks for personal development. While bothcareer coaching and life coaching are young in their development as fields ofpractice, the research evidence for career coaching has been proven effectivethrough scientific study, while life coaching has often failed to adopt anevidence-based research approach, and therefore doesn’t have a strong evidencebase (David, 2016). For this reason, it can be suggested that professionalslooking to strengthen their professional AND personal skills might considerengaging a career coach and a counsellor in parallel.

Professional coaching or careercoaching is highly effective as a personal development and learning approachfor professionals in any sector, with research showing impacts on managingothers, influencing skills, wellbeing, and finding creative solutions to novelproblems (Ballesteros-Sánchez, 2019., Lofthouse, 2019). As COVID has causedmore pressure on managers and employees to develop these skills to beproductive and effective in new, often remote environments, career coaching hasbecome an even more impactful development method. Because it’shyper-personalized to your motivations and needs, and because of the trainingstandards of the career coach, it’s more effective than taking an online courseor finding a mentor.

Reach out if we can help you find theright career coach for you.


[1] Yarborough, J. P. (2018). Therole of coaching in leadership development. New directions for studentleadership, 2018(158), 49-61.

[2] Garcia, N. M. (2015, October). Aroadmap to the design of a personal digital life coach. In InternationalConference on ICT Innovations (pp. 21-27). Springer, Cham.

[3] Ballesteros-Sánchez, L.,Ortiz-Marcos, I., & Rodríguez-Rivero, R. (2019). The impact of executivecoaching on project managers’ personal competencies. Project ManagementJournal, 50(3), 306-321.

[4} Lofthouse. R. (2019). Coaching in education: A professional development process information. Professional development in education, 45(1), 33-45.

[5] Harris, B. L. (1982). A holisticapproach to coaching. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation &Dance, 53(3), 29-30.

[6] Bhatti, N., Maitlo, G. M.,Shaikh, N., Hashmi, M. A., & Shaikh, F. M. (2012). The impact of autocraticand democratic leadership style on job satisfaction. Internationalbusiness research, 5(2), 192.

[7] David, O. A., & Breitmeyer,A. (2016). Life coaching: An introduction to the special issue. Journal ofEvidence-Based Psychotherapies, 16(1), 1.

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