Career Coach vs. Life Coach – Comparison Guide

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Maybe you’re feeling lost and confused or looking to expand your career. Whatever it is, adding coaching to your life is always a great idea.

However, you might be overwhelmed by the choices — from a coach, a mentor, or a counselor.

This blog covers everything you should know about the different types of coaches and how career and life coaches compare.

TL;DR – Career Coach vs. Life Coach

Let’s look at the differences between a career and a life coach.

Career CoachLife Coach
Helps you plan your career goals and attain your full potentialHelps individuals to develop essential life skills and thrive in life
Best ForBest For
Professional development goalsMultiple or all aspects of your life

On that note, if you need a personalized roadmap to attain your career and business goals, consider 1:1 coaching with me — Nora Sudduth.

I’ll help you uncover opportunities to create compelling brand messaging, strengthen your marketing positioning, and strategize your clients’ journey.

Schedule your 60-minute coaching session and scale your business to 6 figures (and beyond).

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What is a Life Coach?

A life coach consults with clients who seek self-discovery. The coach helps them change the direction of their lives, learn essential life skills, and reach their full potential.

A life coach focuses on your physical health, relationships, career, and emotional well-being.

What is the Purpose of a Life Coach?

A life coach helps you to identify your goals and develop steps to achieve those goals. Besides, they personalize support to guide clients to overcome obstacles and offer accountability.

Overall, they help you create a balanced life and improve on areas that can increase your fulfillment and satisfaction.

Personal Coach vs. Life Coach

Let’s see how a personal coach differs from a life coach.

Personal Coach

  • A personal coach helps you identify your individual skills and talents.
  • They also provide a customized plan to help you meet your needs.
  • Often, a personal coach aims to help you grow in one key area and offers direct feedback more focused on that area.

Life Coach

  • Unlike a personal coach, a life coach helps you in multiple areas of your general life, not just one aspect.
  • A life coach enables you to create a healthy work-life balance and a fulfilling life.

Life Coach vs. Therapist

Both of these helpers serve essential roles, but they differ in their approaches.


  • A therapist is a trained health professional who requires licensure and operates in a regulated healthcare field.
  • They are equipped to diagnose and treat mental health conditions — addiction, mood, anxiety, and disorders.

Life Coach

  • Unlike therapists, a life coach is not governed by a board and cannot diagnose or treat mental health conditions.
  • Working with a life coach can help you achieve your goals, overcome obstacles, and break free from harmful mindsets and behaviors.

Cheerful woman with blonde hair, smiling and touching her head, lounging at home.

What Is a Spiritual Life Coach?

As we navigate life, it’s easy to feel lost and disconnected from our purpose. That’s where a spiritual life coach comes in.

They help clients get past their beliefs and thoughts — gender, religion, society, and culture — and support clients in developing a deeper understanding of their true selves.

They can help clients build confidence, tap into their inner beings, deepen their spiritual connection, reveal their purpose, achieve their goals, and cultivate compassion.

Plus, they can guide clients to make choices aligned with what matters most to them.

Where to Find a Life Coach

We’ve outlined five ways you can find the right coach for you.

  • Get recommendations from your colleagues, friends, or family members.
  • Use online life coach directories.
  • Do a quick online search. Remember to check the websites of different coaches and check the testimonials from past clients.
  • Use the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or International Association of Coaching (IAC) to find a potential coach.
  • Once you understand your goals, you can search for coaches who have worked on similar cases.

What to Expect From a Life Coach

While you might seek the services of a life coach for several reasons, you can expect them to –

  • Guide and motivate you to stay on track with personal and professional goals
  • Help you gain clarity, set priorities, and align to your life path
  • Facilitate your self-discovery process by helping you understand your values, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Overcome your professional, personal, and emotional barriers
  • Offer support and tools to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Assist in work-life balance and time management
  • Provide stress-management techniques to reduce the daily pressures of life
  • Improve your overall well-being and help you achieve ultimate happiness

Close-up of a person in a knitted sweater using a trackpad on a laptop.

What is a Career Coach?

A career coach partners with clients to support them to reach their professional goals and full potential. They can help you with career changes, advice, or other decisions.

For example — through my coaching programs, you can get 1:1 support to help you reach your full potential in your business or career.

I’ll help you leverage opportunities and overcome challenges that hinder your growth. I’ll also help you develop the next actionable steps to meet your goals faster.

Ready for your coaching session? Book now and get customized guidance as you grow your business or career.

Career Counselor vs. Career Coach

Like a career counselor, a career coach focuses on helping you in your career.

Career Counselor

  • A career counselor helps individuals clarify their skills, talents, values, and interests relating to their ideal career path.
  • The counselor can administer personality tests to help you discover your unique talents and identify potential career paths.

Career Coach

  • They are focused on helping you meet your goals — get a new job or move ahead in your career.
  • Besides, they can help you rework your resume and LinkedIn profile to make yourself marketable to potential employers.
  • They can also help you negotiate compensation, get a promotion, or sharpen your interview skills.

Career Coach vs. Mentor 

As mentioned above, a career coach primarily works with individuals to guide them to achieve their desired career changes.

Let’s see how they differ from a mentor.

Career Coach

  • A career coach helps you during career transitions, whether changing careers, landing a higher-paying job, or earning a promotion.
  • Career coaching is structured, and the coach has a particular set of skills.


  • A mentor is often a senior person with personal experience in a role or an industry. They can provide insights along your career path.
  • Often, the mentoring sessions are unstructured.
  • You should consider a mentor if you like your field and when looking for guidance on specific challenges and opportunities.

Nora Sudduth works on papers with a coffee cup in a cozy café.

Executive Coach vs. Career Coach

An executive and career coach might seem like they offer similar services, but they differ.

Executive Coach

  • An executive coach focuses on elevating the skills of top-ranking employees in a company — refining their communication and leadership skills and strategizing on growing their executive online presence.
  • They help produce a better leader who can improve the overall team performance.

Career Coach

  • On the other hand, a career coach aims to guide individuals to their ideal long-term career path.
  • The coach also provides skills such as resume advice, networking, job preparation tips, and more.

What to Expect From a Career Coach

Though there’s no one-size-fits-all coaching for all clients, you can expect a career coach to:

  • Assist you in identifying, clarifying, and aligning your professional goals
  • Develop practical and personalized career plans
  • Guide, motivate, and hold you accountable
  • Assess your skills, career aspirations, and personal passions
  • Address your career challenges and develop problem-solving skills
  • Assist you in setting goals and developing a messaging strategy master guide to help you advance in your business or career

Why Should I Hire a Career Coach?

Your business and career journey is unique, and so should your coaching.

Coaching with me — Nora Sudduth — will help you develop strategic plans toward achieving your desired results.

I’ve developed FiniSprint programs customized to help you get 1:1 support, on-demand business insights, and personalized guidance you need to achieve your goals.

Join your ideal FiniSprint and take the guesswork out of your business journey!

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Relevant Aspects Between a Career Coach and Life Coach

Here’s a breakdown of the crucial aspects of career and life coaches.

AspectCareer CoachLife Coach
Focus AreaCareer-related goalsGeneral professional and personal goals
MethodologyPersonal SWOT analysis, career coaching questions, and moreGuided meditation, past and future self-analysis, and more
Outcome ExpectationsAttain professional goals and reach your full potential in your careerAchieve physical, health, relationships, career, emotional, and overall well-being
Session StructureOne-on-one sessions, each 45 to 60 minutesOne–on–one sessions, each 45 to 60 minutes
Tools and TechniquesAssessment and toolsConversations

Similarities and Differences

Let’s explore the key differences and similarities between a life coach vs. a career coach.

Life Coach and Career Coach Differences

Let’s see how a life coach differs from a career coach.

  • Life coaches are generalists — they can guide you through your professional and personal life, including romantic relationships and finances.

On the other hand, career coaches are specialists — they guide you specifically with work concerns.

  • A life coach helps clients improve their general goals, while a career coach helps clients achieve their professional goals.
  • A life coach helps you develop strategies to reach your personal and professional goals. In contrast, a career coach equips you with specific help in your business and career path.

Life Coach and Career Coach Similarities

Here is what a life coach and career coach have in common.

  • A life and career coach helps clients overcome their psychological challenges.
  • The clients will feel more confident and empowered after working with a life or career coach.
  • Both these coaches aren’t therapists

Businesswoman engrossed in reading a report in a well-lit room.

What is a Success Coach?

A success coach guides individuals toward setting and achieving their personal and professional success.

They evaluate individual needs, determine personal goals, create tailored programs and plans, implement strategies, and monitor progress to promote success.

Besides, they identify your strengths and maximize your abilities to ensure success. Still, they help you face your weaknesses and devise ways to manage them to avoid sabotaging your projects.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, all these helpers are ideal for different situations and provide different results. Consider what you want before you decide on one coach in favor of the others.

Looking for a coach to scale your service business?

With over 20 years of business experience, I have helped clients sell over half a billion online products and services. By coaching with me — Nora Sudduth, you’ll get practical insights and tailored 1:1 support to help you charge more, retain more clients, and increase conversions.

Schedule a discovery call and get the clarity you need to take your business to the next level!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a quick FAQ section to get answers to common coach-related queries.

Can a Life Coach Address Career-Related Challenges?

Although a career coach is better equipped to help you with your work-related challenges, working with a life coach also has several benefits to your career.

A life coach can help you clarify your vision and values and align them with your career. They can help you develop skills and a new mindset to overcome fears blocking you from achieving your goals.

Furthermore, they can provide support to help you explore new career opportunities and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Is a Career Coach Qualified to Give Personal Life Advice?

The short answer is no.

Often, a career coach is better equipped to offer guidance on different career situations. They focus on helping you build skills and improve your capabilities to advance your career.

How Long Should One Work with a Career Coach Compared to a Life Coach?

Your needs determine how long you’ll work with a career or life coach. Often, each coaching session lasts between 45 and 60 minutes.

If your goals are short-term with a limited deadline, you might decide to meet your coach once or twice weekly.

For long-term career and life goals, meeting once every fortnight or once monthly would work best.

How to Determine Whether You Need a Career Coach or a Life Coach

Consider a life coach if you’re feeling lost or unmotivated, about to get out of a relationship, or struggling with self-discipline.

On the other hand, hire a career coach to help you achieve your career goals, such as changing jobs, switching careers, preparing for an interview, and more.

How Do Coaching Techniques Differ Between Career and Life Coaches?

Career coaches rely on assessment models and tools to help clients meet their career goals. Life coaches, on the other hand, mostly focus on conversations to guide clients to change their mindset and advance in their personal lives.

Nora Sudduth

Want help with your messaging strategy? 

Get started and let’s set up a discovery call.

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Nora Sudduth
Nora Sudduth
Hi there, I'm Nora and I've coached million dollar clients of industry leaders such as Russell Brunson and Rachel Rodgers. From market positioning and messaging to offers and delivery strategies, I can help you stand out in a crowded market and get results.


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