How a Life Coach is Different From a Friend

the difference between a friend and a life coach

When I first started coaching, I never anticipated the amount of people who would compare what I did to a friend they have, or a relationship they’ve cultivated. And I often hear the question “Is it like that?”

So let’s clear things up once and for all.

Hiring a coach is not the same as talking to that one friend who gives really good advice.


I totally get it though — why wouldn’t it be? It’s the opportunity to talk to someone, get an outside opinion on things that you may be too in your head about, bounce ideas off another person, and grow from your conversations.

It’s basically paying someone to be your friend, right?

In fact, I’ll even admit that I used to be that friend who gives really good advice. I was the one that people I barely knew felt comfortable sharing intimate information with. I sat down with friends and family and gave them exercises to combat fear, or learn gratitude, before I ever trained as a coach. I am an empath, and naturally intuitive, and it’s easy for me to help others.

But that training, the experience I’ve gained, the learning I’ve done, the courses and books and podcasts I’ve studied — they’re how I know just how different a coach and a friend are.

Your friend (unless they happen to be a coach, or therapist, or counselor, etc) is guessing. Now, it can be very intuitive guessing, and very educated guessing, and it can be empathetic and knowledgable and empowering and motivating. But it’s still guessing. They haven’t sat down to figure out what works and what doesn’t. They haven’t done the training or research or studying or have the experience necessary to make it anything but guessing.

Plus, there’s a big difference to be told something from a friend, and told that exact same thing from someone who is a professional. You can tell your loved one they are relying on others for approval until you’re blue in the face — and they’ll most likely ignore you and do what they want anyway.

But when there is someone who is an educator, who is in some regards an authority figure, telling you that same thing, you’ll more likely to listen (especially if you’re paying them!). And they’ll also be able to give you the tools to combat it.

Now, I consider each and every one of my clients to be my friends. It’s not about the way that we get along with each other, or the level of intimacy we share. It’s about the fact that at the end of the day, I have a clear, proven path to help them move forward. And that’s not something that a person who isn’t a coach can offer.

Share your experience in the comments below, or join the party on my Instagram and share there: https://www.instagram.com/katrina.widener/

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