Career Coach VS Life Coach VS Therapist: What’s The Difference?

Yen Joon
Last updated Apr 20, 2022

In the daily hustle, life and work-related stresses can leave one feeling overwhelmed or lost. Working with an expert may help you cope better or gain a different perspective of your situation. But which type of help is right for you?

According to a survey, more than nine in 10 workers in Singapore are experiencing burnout, with respondents citing increased workloads (49%), pressure to meet deadlines (37%), and long working hours (33%) as the top reasons. 

As a result, nearly two in five Singaporeans said they are less focused at work (37%) and have lost interest in work (36%). 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines burnout as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” and characterises it by: “1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and 3) reduced professional efficacy.”

While you may have your own methods of dealing with work-related stress, engaging an expert, whether a career coach, life coach, or therapist, can help you manage your stress and emotions better. 

But how do you decide which type of professional to pick according to your needs? Below is an overview of the differences between a career coach, life coach, and therapist.

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What does a career coach do?

As the name implies, a career coach helps you with concerns related to your professional career, whether it’s providing counselling service during a transitional period (after leaving/losing a job), helping you to figure out growth opportunities in your career, or working with you to help you accomplish your career goals. 

A career coach will typically work with you to understand the things that matter to you in your career, and design a plan to help you reach your objectives.  

Here are some reasons why you need to see a career coach:

  • You move along interview rounds but constantly find it difficult to make it past the hiring manager. A career coach can help you to answer tricky questions, refine your answers for common interview questions, and practice with you to improve your interview performance  
  • When you’re experiencing career stagnation and aren’t moving up in your career. Career coaches can help you to identify why you’re not advancing in your career as well as give you performance feedback for growth and development
  • You’re at a crossroads in your career and are struggling for career fulfilment. A career coach can help you to consider opportunities that you would otherwise not have considered
  • You constantly feel bored and unproductive at work, and need help to discover work that you really enjoy so that you can create meaningful work
  • You need help to improve your resume and LinkedIn profile, or how to make your experience relevant to the job 
  • You’ve had a bad experience in your previous job and can’t move on. A career coach can help you to regain your confidence and make better career decisions

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What does a life coach do?

A life coach guides you through all aspects of your life, including your relationships, career, health, and finances. While a career coach helps you to make progress in your career, a life coach aids you in both your professional and personal life.

A life coach will help you identify your goals, objectives, and hurdles in your life, and develop an action plan to achieve them. Aside from that, life coaches also motivate you and provide support to help you achieve your goals, while keeping track of your progress. 

Here are some reasons why you need to see a life coach:

  • You feel disconnected from your social circle, including your family and friends
  • You’re constantly dissatisfied with a lack of fulfilment in your career 
  • You need help to overcome stress and anxiety in your life
  • You have personal issues in your life or in your relationships and need strategies to rebuild them

Before making any major life changes, it’s good to plan ahead by setting up an emergency fund. Start saving up in a high yield savings account to tide you over any transition periods in future. 

What does a therapist do?

While a life coach doesn’t need formal qualifications and academic training, a therapist is a licensed and qualified mental health professional who’s trained to provide treatment and rehabilitation. 

Also, life coaches do not treat mental health conditions. Therapists, on the other hand, help people with mental health concerns and behavioural disorders, such as anxiety and mood disorders, by using clinical treatments, academic research, and therapy. Some therapists also provide counselling services, including family counselling, marriage counselling, and grief counselling. 

There are many types of therapists, ranging from family therapists and child therapists, to addiction therapists and psychotherapists. By taking a holistic approach, therapists can help you deal with trauma, cope with life challenges, and treat mental health conditions.

Here are some reasons why you need to see a therapist:

  • When you need help to cope with mental health and emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression. A therapist doesn’t just diagnose your mental health condition, but also works on treating you 
  • When you find yourself easily irritated or short-tempered and want help to manage stress. Being stressed out can disrupt your life, work, and relationships, which may lead to conflicts and work unproductivity. A therapist can help you by discussing your feelings and thoughts, and give you constructive solutions so that you can manage stressful situations better
  • You always feel angry, depressed, or resentful of others. A therapist can introduce anger management techniques to cope with anxiety and anger so that you can understand your emotions and control them better
  • You’ve not overcome a past trauma and can’t move on
  • You feel embarrassed about something and don’t know how to deal with it. This makes you want to avoid other people
  • You’re losing interest in things around you or things that used to interest you, which are possible signs of depression or anxiety
  • You’re consistently worried and feel hopeless about the future
  • You need help in fixing your relationships

Career coach vs life coach vs therapist: how much do they cost?

Career coach

There are different rates for career coaching, ranging from free of charge to a few hundreds. Below is a summary of some career coaching programmes and their rates:

OrganisationFees
Workforce Singapore (WSG)S$0
Employment and Employee InstituteS$0
The American Association of Singapore (AAS)S$100 per session (member), S$150 per session (non-member)
Gary and Pearl InternationalS$180 per session (four to eight sessions), S$400 per session for leadership coaching
Anagram GroupFrom S$390 per session (online)From S$490 per session (in-person)
Emunah CoachingS$450 for three sessions

Life coach

As mentioned previously, life coaches provide services to aid you in your professional and personal life. But remember, they’re not qualified to treat mental health concerns. 

As the rates for life coaches vary, it’s best to do your research and arrange for a complimentary initial session to determine if the service is what you need.  Nonetheless, here is a shortlist of certified life coaching services off the web:

OrganisationFees
Ralitza PeevaUnknown
The Inner ImpactUnknown
Nancy HoUnknown
Jasrin SinghUnknown
Eugene SeahUnknown

Therapist

You can find therapists in both public and private settings. The good news is that there are free counselling services available in Singapore. What’s more, treatments at public health institutions are subsidised by the government too, which is great if budget is a concern for you. 

Therapists are trained to be open-minded and objective so that they can give you their perspective while providing you with a safe place to talk about your issues.

Remember that therapy is a long-term commitment and you can’t treat your concerns in one or two sessions: it may take months or even years.

However, therapy may not be for everyone as it does require some degree of opening up and taking suggestions. If you’re not comfortable speaking in front of a group, you can seek individual sessions. 

With that, below are some mental health service providers in Singapore.

OrganisationFee
Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH)Free
Fei Yue Counselling CentreFree
Counselling and Care CentreS$40 to S$150 per hour (Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents), S$180 per hour (non-residents)
Safe Space S$80 to S$205 (Video call), S$110 to S$200 (face-to-face) 
The Lion MindS$100 per session
Institute of Mental Health (IMH)S$42 for first consultation (subsidised patients), from S$105 for first consultation (non-subsidised patients)
Talk Your Heart OutFrom S$120 for individual counselling 
Alliance CounsellingFrom S$235.40 per session (individual counselling)
National University Hospital S$38 to S$58 (for subsidised patients)
Singapore Counselling Centre From S$192 (individual counselling)
Sofia Wellness Clinic From S$220 (initial session), from S$150 for subsequent sessions

There’s a helpful compilation of mental wellness resources in Singapore on Reddit, including a list of private and public mental health services, so do check it out if you need it!

And in case you didn’t know, you can use your MediSave to fund mental health therapy and counselling treatment at public hospitals. You can use up to S$150 per day and up to S$5,000 per year for inpatient treatments.

For outpatient treatments, you can use up S$700 yearly for complex chronic conditions, and up to S$500 per year for simple chronic conditions as part of the MediSave500/700 scheme

Beyond that, did you know that you can also subscribe to mental health insurance plans? 

With mental health issues on the rise and more people realising the importance of having good mental health, consider getting insured against mental health consultations and treatments. Check out our list of mental health insurers in Singapore here

Read these next:
Circuit Breaker, 1 Year On: Free Counselling Services In Singapore
Feeling Down? Here Are 6 Top-Rated Mental Health Professionals Who Can Help
Mental Health Insurance: What Insurers Are Doing To Help Heal When You Need It Most
Best Critical Illness Insurance Plans In Singapore (April 2022)
5 Types Of Insurance You Can Get For Free In Singapore


By Kang Yen Joon
In my past life, I was always broke (I still am) because of a lack of financial literacy. These days, I publish a few posts every week* on personal finance to help you manage your money better.

*I mean, I’ll try


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