For many people, the desire to help others can be a major factor in the choice of a career path. Life coaching and social work positions can certainly enable you to help people in a variety of different ways and through a variety of different approaches; before deciding on one course of action, however, it can help to understand the differences between these two important fields.

Understanding These Roles 

Social workers can occupy a variety of different roles in society. They can help everyone from young children to adults and can work in environments ranging from office buildings to government departments to hospices. They also often work as therapists that can help others overcome difficult mental health issues.

Life coaches, on the other hand, are also tasked with helping others in significant ways. These professionals use their critical and social skills to help others overcome significant barriers in order to help those individuals reach their full potential. Life coaches may offer personalized advice to clients or help clients to formulate their own plans for success.

What These Careers Require

As you might guess, life coaches must be adept at encouraging and bringing out the best in others and must be skilled at giving genuine praise and appreciation to clients. They must also have a flexible attitude to life and know when to provide both motivation and emotional support.

Using Emotional Strength to Help Others

As you might expect, both social work and life coaching jobs can require significant amounts of emotional strength from their respective practitioners. Your choice of one or the other career pathway may come down to your own personal needs: For many life coaches, there is a great degree of satisfaction to be found in bringing out the best in clients; seeking life coaching certification is certainly a big part of this process.

Weighing the Difficulties

Conversely, many social workers have clients who are only able to manage chronic problems rather than overcome them. This can be a difficult aspect of their job, and rates of burnout are high in the social services field.

A life coach often deals with solutions that can be actualized in the short-term. If you’re good at problem-solving and enjoy seeing the impact of your work and guidance over time, life coaching might just be a great job for you.

How you’ll approach these different career paths can depend on what you truly want out of your life’s work. If you’re passionate about helping others and feel that you can help individuals from a variety of different backgrounds achieve their full potential, working as a life coach can certainly help you to make a positive difference in the world. With the right training and experience, you might just discover that life coaching is your calling!

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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