Should I Become A Life Coach

Should I Become A Life Coach?


Sasha Raskin’s talks with PhD Students about being a life coach and also a counselor.

I truly believe that counselors and coaches should learn more from each other. This conversation is about that. Please leave your comments below to add to this important discussion!

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):    Okay. So I want to set up the scene, let’s say you’re in a conference and you have some time to mingle. And you met a person and they say, “I’m a counselor,” right? So what are the immediate thoughts that come to mind? For example, how long is the person in the field? Like your immediate reaction. What’s their education level? How much do they earn a year? How long do they work, how many hours a week? And how does the work with the clients look like? Even level of intelligence of that person, level of empathy. 

Now you’re in the same conference and with a different person. So like you ask them, “Well, what do you do?” The person says, “I’m a professional life coach.” So what are your thoughts about how long the person is in the field? How long they’ve been doing what they’re doing? What’s their education level? How much do they earn a year? How long does the person work, how many hours a week? How does the work with their clients look like? What’s their level of intelligence? And what’s the level of empathy? 

So the reason I’m asking is because I’m both a counselor and a coach, and those are two different … those the different people come to me. And the reason I’m speaking about this is that I believe that there is not enough dialogue between the two professions, between counseling and coaching. 

Now if you think about the bigger picture of people trying to improve their lives and heal from and find solutions to big challenges in life compared to let’s say religions and philosophies – both counseling and coaching are relatively young fields, like counseling is maybe a little bit more than a hundred years, coaching maybe 30, 40 years, so not that big of a difference. And at the same time they are treated differently. 

So it’s important I believe to look at the biggest two fields of life improvement and the way that they work and potentially learn from each other. And can you, as a counselor, do both? If you want to learn how to get more coaching clients take a look at the six figure program.

Coaching or Counseling?

So first it’s important to look at what are the differences, and later on what are the commonalities as well. So the client, the prevailing clients are approaching therapy, many times the session is led by the client in some way. How’s your week? And then it goes. And the main … one of the main healing or change-allowing factors is the therapeutic relationship, at least through some research. And definitely goals-oriented approach in coaching, what is the outcome that you would actually look like and let’s make it very clear and specific? 

What are the differences in length of treatment of working with a client? In my mind if I help my clients to create change but it takes a year or two, and it’s very gradual I’m doing them disservice. I want to be as efficient as possible to create the specific changes that they want in their lives, in that way I use a lot of coaching in my work as a therapist. At the same time it really helps me in coaching to go sometimes a bit deeper. 

And that’s a bigger issue, going deeper pretty much if you go to any website of a coach or you go to any coaching training they talk a lot about, “Well, this is not counseling,” right? We don’t talk about the past so much, definitely do not explore trauma, we refer out if we need to. And in counseling it’s kind of the opposite – let’s get deep, process those as content, not very interested in hearing grocery lists of things that happen, what’s the underlying process, right? What’s your emotional process, your thoughts? And I think both are important, right? If you want to create change you have to go deeper. It’s not enough just to set goals, because if people … if it was easy, people wouldn’t be needing coaches or therapists. 

And that kind of work definitely affects the length as well. Coaching can go (12?) sessions, right? Let’s make things happen fast. And counseling, I’m curious, how long do you see clients on average? 

Comment:  Six hours a day. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Six hours a day? 

Comment:  Uh-hmm. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     One client? 

Comment:  No, no, no. Sometimes three hours a day, depending if it’s intensive. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     And one client, how … Do you see the client … 

Comment:  The duration. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah, the duration. 

Question:  Are you asking of success or when they stop coming? 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     When they stop coming. 

Comment:  Because there’s a difference. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Well, both. One average how long they come to see you before they stop coming? 

Comment:  Usually a couple months. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     A couple of months. 

Comment:  In my field it’s about 18 months usually for that transition. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah. You know what? The first thing that John Gottman said in his training, and I still remember it, he said, “It’s not enough to create a change in counseling for a couple, it needs to be a big enough of a change for it to be actually successful.” Because if they find a little bit less, so yeah, that’s evidence-based treatment, that’s successful, but it’s not really enough for them. So I think the efficiency of counseling is important as well as in coaching. 

And people … it’s difficult to keep on fighting in couples counseling for months until you actually see change. So can I do something for them to actually experience it during the first week so that they would actually come back, right? To do longer and deeper work. 

Let’s talk about money because I didn’t talk about money in three years of counseling education, and when I talked to my colleagues they do not want to talk about how much they charge. And I think that’s important because that’s a job. In coaching people talk about this very freely, so that’s a big difference that I see. 

I think I did this very interesting workshop once about money and counseling, and there’s this brilliant idea of the work needs to be done in the trenches, right? And a wholesome counselor saying, “Oh, I didn’t charge that person for a while, for a few months now because they really need it.” And I’m thinking about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, and if you’re burned out and you don’t have money to … I mean, if you’re starving, how sustainable it is as a counselor? 

What are the fees that you charge or your agencies charge? I’m curious. 

Comment:  For my agency they do [unclear 10:01], so you can apply based on income, you can get a reduced rate. But flat rate is under the deterrent assessment in a 100 an hour.

Comment:  That’s pretty across the board. 

Comment:  Yeah, that’s what we charge, 150 for an assessment, the intake assessment, and then right out at $100 for individual therapy an hour. And then group therapy is much less, but with six people in a group you can still make that $100 an hour. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     And anyone is in private practice here? 

Comment:  I’m going to be, I’m starting, yeah. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     How much are you going to charge? 

Comment:  Right now $100 an hour. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah. And it’s actually in the ACA ethics to base your fees approximately on how much is charged around you, in the same city. Now that’s not the case in coaching, you can just charge whatever you want. And quick math I know people that charge 50,000 for a year for a client. Now you can say, “Well, that’s ripping people off, like what about the people that definitely can’t afford that?” Well, you can work … What is it? With five clients a year, make 250,000 and have plenty hours to do pro bono work, right? And donate to charity 50,000, whatever you want, right? So can that be combined? So just something to think about. 

So the commonalities between coaching and therapy – there is definitely cross … how do you say it? Cross pollination, yeah. So they affect each other. I think the main two ingredients of coaching is athletic coaching and also the ethical coaches for marriage and family therapy, like strategic solution-focused, structural things that you have a very clear agenda, what you want to see, and you’re being active as a counsel. And for me personally that’s very interesting because I get both, just listening and nodding, and I think it’s helpful to some extent. It’s interesting to see people create changes faster. 

In both fields you see changes as cognitive changes, behavioral changes, emotional changes. In both fields both insight is important and action is important. Generally I’ve seen counseling insight and processing being way more important, and if there’s some action change in real life, that’s bonus, right? And in coaching that needs to happen. This is mandatory, right? If you can find a job for two years but you want to, it’s not enough to talk about how difficult it is for you emotionally to find a job, that’s not your job, what do you actually want to do. 

So in my mind they can be very complimentary, and I’m thinking about this field in the future. And that should be explored as well of are they moving closer to each other, especially many counselors are seeing the possibilities with coaching mainly being the stories for nothing change even when they’re seeing clients for 18 months, right? Everything is the same. There is some venting that’s happening for now, and then we just talk about the same thing next week, right? 

And it’s so satisfying for me, both as a counselor and a coach, to see change happen in a few months. And not to say that it’s magic bottle, right? Deep, deep change needs to happen. But what happens to a client when they create the stack of successes, right? They’ll say, “Whoa, I was able to achieve this and this and this. I guess I’m not what I thought I am.” 

So I’m curious, when I did the quick exercise at the beginning did you have different thoughts about the coach and about the counselor or was it the same? Both the differences. 

Comment:  I see a lot of similarities between like solution-focused therapy and what you’re talking about with coaching. I think this can make an awesome … What is it called? I lost my train of thought. The table conferences, like … 

Comment:  Round table. 

Comment:  Round table presentations, and I think this could be really helpful if you were to present this at a round table and get feedback and talk about those things. And maybe even people who came could bring that back to whatever you’re looking.

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     The biggest meeting in this field is between the collaboration between Cloé Madanes, who’s married to Jay Haley, and the founder of strategic therapy in marriage and family therapy, and Tony Robbins was doing basically just coaching. And his coaching is taking the best from different fields of counseling and bringing that into coaching. And even the way it’s marketed in their approaching school that they do together, they don’t call it counseling, and they call it strategic interventions coaching, right? 

So what do you think about the level of education? How much education does the person need to be able to help others? 

Question:  As a coach? 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     As any person in any field, coach or counselor.

Comment:  I think a master’s degree at least. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     To be efficient. There is definitely legit like legislation as well. 

Comment:  I think it depends on the education. I talked to someone recently who had a bachelor’s in music therapy, and literally from freshman year they were already out doing clinical work, like doing groups. And it like amazed me, because my undergrad was just mostly theories and research. And so if I … if someone had my bachelor’s I’d be like, “They’re not qualified.” But talking to that person who had four years of clinical work and a bachelor’s, I think she’s totally qualified. So these things … that kind of goes back to [unclear 17:35] class of like the requirements and the programs. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah. So you need to be very qualified to be actually helpful, right? The question is how much is enough and how much is good, right? The bar is very little for coaching; you can get a certificate with a few hours of training, right? Is that enough? 

And when I’m doing private practice and when my clients call me, I’ve been asked maybe three or four times about my like certification or diplomas, like no one cares. People care if this is where they are and this is where they want to be, and if I can help them get there efficiently and if I did that with others already. 

Comment:  I think one point of this is … one of the interesting kind of relationships that you’re talking about with counseling and coaching I think is very similar to psychiatry/psychology and counseling that previously existed where we were the new kid on the block so to speak. I think also that over the years counseling service has … it has become a service that you’re selling to somebody. 

Money, I think in lots of different fields but especially in counseling, money is the water and definitely turns it more into a service. So I … like I didn’t go to Verizon and ask the person what kind of education they had to sell me my cell phone. I went, I did my research ahead of time, I picked up my phone, I bought a plan, and I pay my monthly fee. 

I think we’re going to see more people either through government legislation just hoping like, okay, how much is it going to cost me to get this service and what does that … what are the … What’s the plan so to speak that I’m on? And so from that standpoint going back to that education piece I think it’s kind of like what KJ was saying I think the education is not so much can we say it’s this degree or that degree, it’s this experience or this expertise that you bring with it. 

I can find people in different parts of the world who have no clinical training but who have a ton of insight because of just their life. And so for somebody like that maybe coaching might be their foot in the door, so they’re doing a lot more than coaching. And so I think this relationship I think is going to change and intertwine a lot more in the future, because at least in America I think we’re very much a consumer-related society. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah, people shop for counseling. 

Comment:  Exactly. 

Comment:  So initial just reaction, so we did the beginning exercise which I’m like … I was like done when they start with that. We just start with the counselor, everything you were saying I would automatically think to discuss is there, except the money because I don’t know why would you write like the money kind of talk, is like maybe let’s talk about it, it’s like a taboo. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah. 

Comment:  And I’m trying to like create my own thing to like go do trainings and just trying to see what other people charge to do trainings, and nobody will give you a number, right? Nobody gives you answer. But then when you went to the coach I automatically was like, “I don’t even know anything about that to the point of I don’t know what I would say to somebody because I’m not as familiar with that,” like there are none of these [unclear 21:44] pay kind of thing, don’t talk about to people. So I think that’s interesting, like I never really have thought of that, I would have never thought of that gap, because not on my radar. 

Comment:  I think thought also a part of that, that we have to keep in mind, let’s stick with Tony Robbins just because I think he’s a great example of this, everybody going to see Tony Robbins has to buy a ticket, but that ticket price isn’t just covering his fee. I mean, he’s presenting and doing things in these large venues where you have to have an inspection by the fire marshal, and like all these things, that have to go in, like there’s a whole production aspect of that behind the scenes. 

And so I think part of it too is even for presentations or trainings that counselors do depending on what that looks like in terms of logistics, that also plays a large part in and trying to come up with fee structures and figuring out like what do I hope financially to take away from this presenting this training, versus how much is it going to cost me to rent this space. 

Like, one of the things that I personally avoid is I saw this kind of odd coming from a performance background is why is it I’m paying hundreds of dollars to go present stuff at conferences, like I’m paying out of pocket to go present it at KCA or KMHCA or whatever. I have to pay for my own hotel, my own travel expenses, and then pay the conference fee and membership fee for that organization, all these things. Why am I spending all this money in order to have the opportunity to tell people stuff that I think I know? 

Comment:  But they also paid to come … 

Comment:  Yes. 

Comment:  … in here. 

Comment:  Right. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     So before we finish, Dr. Campbell, do you have any … 

Dr. Campbell:  Like, sort of my own comment to ask you about, one of the things that you mentioned fairly quickly was about getting a certificate. And I don’t know that someone states that there’s licenses for coaching. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Exactly. 

Dr. Campbell:  And so part of the licensure issue is one of recognition, but it’s also more importantly one of accountability and protection to the public. You can call yourself a coach with zero education. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Exactly. 

Dr. Campbell:  And just share your personality if you want to, and if somebody will pay you for that, then fine, call yourself a coach. But that’s why they don’t call themselves counselors. Counselors are licensed. And if you call yourself one and you’re not one, you’re in trouble legally. Just like we can’t call ourselves psychologists and nor would we, because we’re not.

And so there are some really distinct differences, and there’s a great deal of difference in the individual ability of people to provide a meaningful experience for a client. And hopefully what’s being regulated in the professions or have regulation is creating at least minimal levels of competence to protect the public. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yes. 

Dr. Campbell:  Or to keep people from harm. And I don’t see that happening in coaching. I’m seeing a lot of ego in coaching frankly. You mentioned Tony Robbins and I can’t imagine somebody with a smaller ego, but … it’s sarcastic, Tony Robbins. I think the real important thing to remember is when you hear that somebody graduated from a K Craft master’s program in counseling, you know what training they’ve had and you know what to expect from them within these parameters. You don’t know what you’re getting with a coach. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah. That’s why I think it would be so valuable for everyone to have more counselors work as coaches as well, because they are able to provide this depth of experience and just work with clients that for some reason are looking for a coach and not the counselor, right? And just come for that though, not necessarily do counseling with them but use that knowledge and experience. 

And this is a very debatable subject, so I think that’s why this discussion needs to happen more. And I don’t see it happening a lot. 

Question:  How do you differentiate? Like, how do you turn off the counselor to be the coach? And vice versa. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     What? I’m sorry. 

Question:  How would you turn the counselor off, like how do you differentiate, how would you turn the counselor off to be the coach and then how would you turn coach off to be the counselor, like what are differences? 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     More future-oriented and outcome-oriented with coaching, less processing, fast, less trauma work. I think those are the main differences. I also see that people themselves, the clients, are either very outcome-focused and want to make things happen or just let me vent, I want to have someone to listen to me. And that I listen to that, the clients as well, what they need. 

Comment:  It’s like … my experience like since I’m studying counseling every time I go back to China and I even go to my high school speaking with high school student basically I’m focused in my story, how I don’t know English, I want to do English, I got a degree, I got my master’s. They wanted me to talk about myself to inspire them. And I kind of draw from that, it can be potentially if I can be a life coach to approach those people in my age because they don’t recognize those counseling kind of thing. 

And I think that life coaching is more focused on myself, talk about how I go, how I increase myself. And being counseling will focus on the client, the center would be the relationship between you and me, the center will be clients. So I think that’s something like … I kind of really interested to hear that and I relate to see how can I draw from counseling to be a life coach in order to reach more people. Because interesting [unclear 28:23] coach one-to-one, I always see a large group of people see one life coach. 

Dr. Campbell:  I think there’s some practical concerns here. You asked how can you turn off being a counselor in order to be a coach and vice versa, the outfit that provides my liability insurance did so as counseling. And if I say for a moment that I’m coaching someone, I’m not counseled. And that person takes umbrage and decides to sue me. My liability insurance is going to say, “Well, what’s going on here? This person says you were their coach, but you’re a licensed professional counselor.” You’re not covered if you’re coaching. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     I actually am. 

Dr. Campbell:  Well, I think it’s going to be up to your insurance company. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah, that they provide different insurance for coaching and for … 

Dr. Campbell:  Well, but the point being then which insurance policy you’re operating under. I also think, and I don’t know the answer for this, but I would be real curious to ask our LPC board how they feel about counselors being both counselor and coach, and whether they have an issue with that from a professional identity point of view. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Yeah, I sent them a letter, a written one, because that kind of … that was important for me. They said, “We don’t care about coaches. We deal with counselors.” But that was Colorado. 

Dr. Campbell:  Yeah, that’s not really answering the question. The question is do they care if they are licensing you as a counselor, do they care if you’re also called a coach? 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     They don’t, at least in Colorado, but that may vary from different … 

Dr. Campbell:  Interesting. I’m finding that kind of surprising. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Me too, me too. I thought that the answer would be very different. They’re like, “No, that’s what we do. We don’t care about that.” I think we’re over time. 

Dr. Campbell:  Interesting topic, Sasha. 

Sasha Raskin (Coach, Counselor, Founder of The 6 Figure Practice):     Thank you.

About the Author Sasha Raskin

Sasha Raskin, MA, is an  international #1 bestselling co-author , the founder of  The 6 Figure Practice, a  life coach, and business coach and a  psychotherapist in Boulder, CO. He is working on a P.h.D in Counseling Education and Supervision and is an adjunct faculty at the Contemplative Counseling master’s program at Naropa University, from which he also graduated. Sasha has been in the mental health field for more than 10 years, worked with youth at risk, recovery, mental health hospitals, and coached individuals, couples, families, startups, and groups. He has created mindfulness stress reduction and music therapy programs within different organizations. Whether it’s in person or via phone/video calls, whether as  a counselor , a  life coach or a  business coach, Sasha uses cutting-edge, research-based techniques to help his clients around the world to thrive.   As a  coach Sasha Raskin provides individual and group  coaching in Boulder, Colorado, and worldwide via video and phone calls, drawing from over ten years of experience. His services include:  life coaching,  business coaching,  career coaching,  ADD coaching,  ADHD coaching,  ADD coach,  ADHD coach,  leadership coaching, and  executive coaching. Schedule your free 20-minute  coaching phone consultation with Sasha Raskin As a  counselor in Boulder, CO, Sasha provides  individual counseling in Boulder, CO ,  family therapy in Boulder, CO, and  couples therapy in Boulder,  marriage counseling in Boulder, and  couples intensives /  couples retreats, drawing from over ten years of clinical experience.  He does  couples therapy Boulder,  online couples therapy,  Online Marriage Counseling  ,  online relationship counseling,   and marriage counseling boulder.

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