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Recovery Coaches vs Life Coaches vs Specialty Coaching


What are the differences and similarities between recovery & sober coaches, life coaches, career & success coaches, etc., and why so many variations?



It seems that over the past 10 to 20 years or so, there has been this enormous growth in  popularity among those providing personal coaching services. This is especially true when it comes to life coaching services. However, as matters surrounding drug & alcohol addiction become less and less the big elephant in the room, a similar growth trend has emerged with respect to recovery coaching services and individual sober coaches.

First off, it is important to note that as of the time this page is being being published, there is no mandatory requirement for any such coaching service to maintain any type of licensing, credentialing, or even a background in any specific degree or course of study. A person can literally wake up one morning and, on a whim, begin pursuing a career as a recovery coach or any variation of life coaching.

On that basis, it goes without saying that you always want to do your diligence before hiring a professional coach. As a matter of fact, it is always recommended to choose one by way of personal or professional referral. Whether it is an executive or success coach, recovery coach, sober coach, career coach or whatever, the difference between a good one and a great one can mean the difference between a client reaching profound heights and a life of mediocrity.

Recovery Coaching (aka. Sober Coaching)

While the typical life coach often times does not specialize in one specific area of life, that of course isn’t so with recovery coaches. However, it is important to understand that the role of the recovery coach should absolutely extend beyond matters of addiction and related mental health issues.

In many cases, and this is the way it should be, a recovery coach is actually a life coach that specializes within the scope of substance abuse & mental health matters. As we mentioned in the Philosophy page, “Addiction exists and thrives within the sufferer’s body on three completely separate but interconnected planes; the physiological, the mental/emotional, and the spiritual.” This is a malady like none other; it cannot be arrested and persevered through by simply addressing the act/s of drinking, using drugs, gambling or whatever. To successfully overcome addiction one must undergo true change in basically all prominent areas of life.

In actuality, when looking at the critical nature of a coaches experience and efficacy, many would agree that, considering the life & death nature of drug and alcohol addiction, of all the coaching types discussed here it is the recovery coach that offers the most to gain and the most to lose.

Certain areas of life can sustain the occasional corner being cut. That is definitely NOT the case when hiring a recovery coaching service!

Life & Specialty Coaches

When it comes to life coaching services, there are many variations, styles and areas of focus. Most life coaches can assist a client in numerous respects such as:

  • Motivation
  • Guidance & mapping
  • Employment
  • Schooling
  • Relationships

One key thing to keep in mind is that the information and guidance provided by a life coach is, in large part, experientially based. While many of them do have some type of training and certification (should be ICF accredited), much of what it takes to be an effective life coach is gained through years of life experience. With that said, most would agree that age plays a factor and that hiring one in their 20’s, for instance, might not garner the same results as one in their 40’s or 50’s.

In addition to the more traditional life coaching, there are those who specialize within specific areas. Common examples would be, executive coaches that often work with C and D level executives, career & success coaches, coaches that work with professional athletes, relationship coaches and so forth. They’re similar to recovery coaches, in that, they have a specific area of specialty, but can usually provide guidance in other matters of life.

A POINT OF CLARIFICATION: Coaches are not therapists and therapists are not coaches, unless of course the person actually works within both fields. Therapists tend to focus primarily on past and current issues, while coaches more often focus on current and future issues. It isn’t always this cut and dry but generally so. Additionally, therapists are bound to HIPAA privacy standards, however coaches are not. ***

In summary, there are endless options when considering private/personal coaching services. Some of them offer a complimentary initial appointment in order to determine if it is the right fit. My recommendation, prior to calling around or searching the web, is to first sit down by yourself and make a list of the areas and things that you’re struggling with. It’s very important that during the first session you have as much accurate information to convey as possible, and the first step in that process is to get your thoughts and struggles out in the open and on paper, and be totally honest.

*** Though recovery & life coaching services are not bound to HIPAA privacy laws, FoxWhole Recovery Services strives to maintain such standards wherever possible.

If you have any questions or comments about this article or any other portion of this website, or any questions regarding FoxWhole Services in general, please contact us seven days a week at (323) 546-2689. You can also reach us by submitting the form further down this page or at info@foxwholeservices.com.

This article was submitted anonymously by a non-employee of FoxWhole Recovery Services

Addiction Intervention and Recovery Coaches


This is a blog page. Information on this page may or may not be related to FoxWhole Recovery Services, addiction, or mental health in general. These blog articles are oftentimes written by various people and may include varying opinions and viewpoints, humor, strong emotion and language, and so forth. We provide this as a forum for honesty and experience, however, nothing contained in these blog articles should be construed as an official opinion, endorsement, or statement of fact by FoxWhole Recovery Services.