I need a Therapist, Counselor, Coach, Consultant, Mentor????

Which of these 5 Services do you need to hire, to help you achieve your goals?


Sometimes, the desire to get out of trouble, get away from pain and avoid failure can send us running for help in the wrong direction. 


If you have a toothache, you would not make an appointment with a podiatrist.  

Why not?

Because, a podiatrist specializes in feet! So will not get the results you need. 

This post is not about toothaches or feet, it's about identifying the right service and service provider to achieve your lifestyle and career goals. 

Sometimes clients are disappointed because they have hired the wrong service professional for their needs. 

When you want someone to come in and fix your business, you do not hire a coach, you hire a consultant. If you want to fix your business, yourself, you hire a business coach, not a fitness coach. 

When you are experiencing a difficult time in life, it's easy to feel hopeless. It feels like you are failing at life. Trust me you are not failing at life.


Failure is an ingredient to success, but so is getting HELP! 


You know it's time to do something different, it's time to change your life now. It's time to stop making excuses, stop waiting, stop blaming others and DO something new! 

You also, know if you do not change now, then you will not achieve your dreams and goals, as a result, you will feel disappointed and discouraged. 

At different points in your life and career, you will need personal and career development services from any of these 5 providers, but knowing which one to hire, for what purpose and when, will save you some money, time, confusion and frustration. 

Finding the right provider is like finding the right pair of shoes, you may try on a few pairs, before you find a good fit. Many of my clients have interviewed several other clinicians, before choosing to work with me. One size does not fit all. I prefer to work with a client that is comfortable with me.

I always say, "I may not be your cup of tea, but that is alright with me." Our working relationship matters and it's part of what gets results. I will refer a client to someone else if I feel they can have a better experience or that person specializes in their needs. 

Below is some general information to help you identify what kind of personal and career development service professional you need, when you need them and your investment. 


A Therapist is a licensed clinician that diagnoses mental health disorders based on a book called the DSM, this includes mood and anxiety disorders, personality disorders, trauma, suicidal thoughts. Clinicians use the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," to help them assess a client and provide an accurate diagnosis. The clinician could be a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. 

When to see a therapist: 

You have experienced a loss in daily functioning. You don't feel good, drastic changes in mood, not sleeping, not eating, negative thoughts, changes in weight, loss of interest in activities, intense fear and/or sadness, you have experienced this change in functioning for more than 2 consecutive weeks. A therapist helps you to heal, discuss your past and learn new ways of thinking, behaving and coping. Please Note: Only Psychiatrists provide medication management and monitor medication. 

How long do you work together:

You can work with a therapist on your case short term or long term, Give it 3 months to see any big change. You can work with a therapist up to 12 months. Sometimes weekly or bi-weekly.

How much does it cost:

A typical therapy session can range from $90 -$250 depending on the provider. They may accept insurance, they may offer a sliding scale fee. There are also subscriptions for online counseling. Just ask and see if you can negotiate. 


A Counselor may or may not necessarily be licensed but can provide mental health counseling, like a clinician. They do not diagnose a mental health disorder. They work under the supervision of a licensed clinician, see the clinicians above.

When to see a counselor: 

You are involved in a life transition, experiencing a challenge, feeling overwhelmed, stressed, burned out, have a difficult decision to make. A counselor will help you to process your, thoughts and feelings about the situation so you can come up with positive solutions. 

How long do you work together:

You can work with a counselor on your case short term or long term. You should wait 3 months to see any big changes. You can work with a counselor for 3 months, up to 12 months. 

How much does it cost:

A typical counseling session can range from $90 -$150 depending on the provider. They may accept insurance, they may offer a sliding scale fee. Just ask and see if you can negotiate. There is also prepaid payment, paying up front for a certain amount of sessions, which often provides a discount.


A coach is not licensed and does not require a license, but they can be certified in a particular specialty (i.e. Life Coach, Career Coach, Fitness Coach, Business Coach). Coaches do not treat mental health conditions. Coaches help you learn skills to achieve goals and get results. Coaches help you set goals,  create an action plan, stay organized and set deadlines. 

When to see a coach:

If you have a goal, a task or some challenge to get through and you need to learn the skills and get motivated to get them done. A coach will help you design a plan of action, with clear goals and detailed instructions on how to get it done. 

How long do you work together:

You can work with a coach, short term or long term. Coaches do not address mental health, they are not problem focused, they are solution focused and don't focus on the past history, like therapists and counselors.  You can work with a coach for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or until you achieve your desired goal. You may work with the same coach over and over to achieve different goals. 

How much does it cost:

Coaches typically offer coaching packages and programs, they usually don't charge by the hour. If they do charge by the hour, it can be approximately between $100 and $250 depending on expertise and experience. Insurance does not cover coaching. Coaches may offer sales and discounts on their packages and programs, you can ask them about that or any promotions. They may also offer prepaid coaching, paying up front for a certain amount of sessions.


A consultant is an expert in a particular subject or field and can provide answers and solutions. They identify the problems and come up with solutions. They will get data and put together a plan complete your project. Consultants are focused on a particular problem and outcome.  If you are working on a project and the need the expertise of their field a consultant can help you design your program, based on their knowledge. 

When to see a consultant: 

When you have a project or problem to tackle and you need an expert to come in and do the job. A consultant will analyze what needs to be fixed and then create a plan and fix it. You hire them a contracted provider. 

How long do you work together:

You can work with a consultant however, long it takes them to fulfill their contract and/or complete the project they were hired for. 

How much does it cost:

Consultants typically offer coaching packages and programs, they don't charge by the hour. If they do charge by the hour, it can be approximately between $100 and $250 depending on expertise and experience. They may also have one fee as part of their contract. 


A mentor has experience and/or expertise in your particular career field. This relationship is formed where they help you develop yourself as a professional now and in the future, by providing you with the skills,education, work experience they have developed over many years. They are like a cheat sheet, giving you the ins and outs of what to do, what to expect and how to handle your career, because they've already done it. You hire a mentor and pay they for the knowledge that they have already paid for. 


When to see a mentor: 

When you want detailed help and attention on growing in your particular field. For example if you wanted to become a therapist, you would get an experienced therapist to be your mentor and teach you ropes, guide you, support you, give advice on how to develop your career. 


How long do you work together:

You can work with a mentor for years or even a lifetime. As long as you feel you are benefiting from their advice, knowledge and experience and you enjoy working with them. 

How much does it cost:

Mentors may negotiate their fees. It's best to ask them what is their fee for working together. 

Next Steps

You can do some online research to find the right provider. You can look up coaching directories or therapist directories. If you are looking for a mentor try your college alumni office or you can try Linked In. 

Questions to ask your provider?

  • Ask this provider if they can help you with your particular problem? If they can't help with your case, ask them for referrals.
  • Ask them how do they work with you, virtually by internet, phone or in person and how often?
  • Ask them if they have any testimonials?
  • Ask them if them about their payment  fees and process? (All clinicians don't accept insurance, some do prepaid, packages or sliding scale fee).

You can always negotiate prices or ask for referrals to free or low cost services. Your results are based on the work and effort you put into your time with your provider. 

I have provided all of these services at one time or another. Sometimes I am asked to provide different services. I am careful not to mix up the roles, I am hired for. If I am providing coaching, it is not therapy. Coaching is not consulting, therapy is not mentorship. 

Whatever you are experiencing on your journey, know that you are not alone and there is support of all kinds.  I wrote this article because I see too many people end up sad, frustrated and discouraged because they hired the wrong service provider. I have been there myself and now I am sharing with you because knowledge is power! 

Need more information on these services?

Need a referral?

Want to learn how we can work together?

I offer prepaid packages and programs for professional women ready to make a change in their lifestyle and career. 

Email me at askcoachsen@gmail.com to set up a FREE 15 minute strategy call today. 

Your Journal Prompt (Pen, Paper, 5 minutes)

Take a moment to think about what you are currently challenged with. 

What is your end goal? What result do you want? 

Which personal development or career development provider matches your needs?

I'd love to hear about your experience writing this journal prompt! Let's connect by email askcoachsen@gmail.com.