Tina Ratliff

Life Coach

 What is the difference between a coach and a counselor?

Have you ever wondered…

What exactly is a coach anyways?

What is the difference between a coach and a counselor?
Do I need one?

Well, both are pretty great! Both are more than great. They are essential.

There have been many times I have needed a counselor. There will be more times that I will need a counselor!

I have been to a therapist on and off throughout my adult life. I have to admit, there was too much ‘off’ time in the counselor-zone! Looking back, I now see there were different times where going to a counselor would have saved me some grief. It would have saved those around me a bit of grief, too!

A lot of grief, actually.


But, here I am…on the other side of a desert of no counseling. I am experiencing the fruit of working with a therapist. And….yes! The people around me are liking that I have done the work, as well!

Guess what pointed me back to the need for a counselor?

My coach!

Here’s how it came to pass:

A few years ago, I thought I would give coaching a try. I found one that fit my vision. She’s pretty awesome. And, boy, do I like this coaching thing! In fact, I have decided I will never NOT have a coach. There is too much to be gleaned out of the coaching experience. This wild and precious life is way too short, and I want to make the most of it!!!

Right now, not only do I have a life coach, but I also participate in group coaching with a TLP group that I attend. (Yes. I am a Director of these very same groups for you here in Santa Cruz!) I have learned much through being coached. I have learned even more through being coached within a group setting. Check out this article for more info on group coaching!

Through both of these coaching platforms, I have set many goals.

I have met many goals.

I am presently dreaming of more and making the stretch goals to measurably meet those goals. They are not just vague thoughts or distant dreams anymore. They are realities that make sense with who I am. They are realities I can meet, and now have the necessary structure built in order for me to actually get there.

But, every once in a while, through the coaching experience, a little ‘golden nugget’ is discovered. I call it a ‘golden nugget’. That sounds like finding the fountain of youth. Or the secret to wealth. Or something crazy like that. This golden nugget is about finding the THING that is stopping me from living at my fullest capacity in a particular area.

It’s about finding the piece that is holding me back.

The brokenness that is keeping me stuck.

Or blinding me to the possibilities that are right in front of my eyes.

Well, when this little nugget is found with my coach, off I go to a counselor to work through it. For, this little nugget of discovery is like a chord that is plugged into my past, and holds a part of me back into that past.

A piece of my childhood that impacts my capacity today.

We all have them.

No matter how awesome our upbringing or education, they are there.

Sometimes it might be interpreting things your kids or husband might do or say as rejection, when really, it is just an old voice that has nothing at all to do with the people who love you most. It could be a reaction to a boss or coworker, that is less about them, and more about you. It could be the job you can’t hold, the inability to be present, the anxiety that is crippling, the situation that seems to be on ‘repeat’ in your life, or the trail of broken relationships. It could be a childhood survival mechanism that prevented you from even thinking about coming up with dreams, goals and aspirations.

I have spent a lot of life today, blindly making decisions and reacting out of my yesterday.

Coaching uncovered, and continues to uncover, these ‘nuggets’. And, therapy allows me to work through the deeper issues so they do not control my life anymore. Therapy unplugs the chords of my past. Counseling provides the way for each of us to take back ownership of our life, and get back to the coach-work of setting goals, dreaming, and becoming our best selves.

I guess these nuggets are a bit like finding the fountain of youth or the secret to wealth. They keep us healthy and strong and living at our full capacity! We’ve all read the research that says when we are emotionally healthy, our lives are longer and happier. I’m all for that!!!

So, to sum it all up….What is a coach?

Coaching is a growth centered relationship where we have an agenda, clear expectations, and concrete goals we are shooting for.  Coaching is a support structure for change.

What is the difference between coaching and counseling?

Counseling tends to focus on helping people get healthy, where coaching works with healthy people who want to further improve their lives.

Both are one-on-one relationships focused on growth.

Both are good.

At times, both are necessary.

If you have experienced great results through working with a coach and/or counselor that you would like to share, I welcome your thoughts!

And if you are wondering which is best for you at this time in your life, feel free to contact me for a complementary 30 minute session! We will brainstorm together, and get the growing-goodness moving! I have a few therapists that I work with and can refer you to, as well. Each has a particular focus, and some are even available through FaceTime if that is more convenient.

Let’s say YES! to becoming healthy!
Let’s say YES! to being healthy AND beautifully living this one precious and wild life.


Let's Begin Today!