When people are seeking help they often get confused about who they should be talking to. Education and certification are forms of credentialing and theory and approach styles vary from person to person.
For example, I have my Master's Degree in Counseling Education with a certification in Secondary and Higher Ed Counseling. I'm a Counselor by title - a coach by style which is more directive and cognitive and in collaboration with my clients needs.
A Life Coach discovers what a client wants and figures out what is getting in the way of them having it . Together a plan is created to get around the obstacles and get into action!
Rather then make a decision based on title or credentials alone, a more useful approach might be to ask yourself these questions when searching for the right fit in a support person:
Do I want someone to just listen to me ?
Do I need validation?
How much interaction and feedback do I want from the person I'm working with?
Do I want to explore my past? Or do I prefer a more here and now approach?
Do I make decisions with my heart or head?
Do they offer an opportunity to meet them or talk on the phone first before making a committment?
Overall, the important thing is that you feel comfortable and that you can trust this person. That feeling may be instant or may take a little time to develop. Without it though, you won't be as open to share. Counselor or Coach, being in a safe space able to direct what is helpful and what isn't should be an important part of the process.
I check in with my clients on this often. I value our time together and want you to get the most out of it - whatever that is for you!
After all, it's about having a life YOU love!