That is a loaded question. We aren't counselors but we might use some overlapping techniques. We are a unique breed . I like these definitions:
"Part consultant, part motivational speaker, part therapist and part rent-a-friend, coaches work with managers, entrepreneurs, and just plain folks, helping them define and achieve their goals- career, personal or most often, both."
"Coaches have the ability to view things from afar- in what some call 'helicopter vision'- and to shed new light on difficult situations. Often they can act as sounding boards through tough decisions, help sharpen skills, and motivate."
- CFO Magazine
Let me clarify the use of "therapist" in the earlier quote. We all have best friends whom we call our "therapist" during our time of need, someone who listens and repeats back to us what we are truly saying. Life coaching is not therapy. We do not work on traumas and past issues. Life coaches often work along side a therapist or counselor to provide the ultimate package of services to get clients back into the swing of things. Life coaches focus on the present and moving forward by setting goals and aligning activities to help get people from point A to point B.
About certification... it is an unregulated field right now with many agencies offering certifications. As for me, I am a certified Special Education teacher who has advanced training in behavior management, integrating the arts, various speciality areas to include ADHD/ADD, community based education and job coaching which far exceeds any current life coaching training on the market. Each life coach has their area of speciality and experience. Chose someone who fits your style. Ask questions. Experience a free short session to see if the delivery fits you.
There are many options and types of life coaches out there. If you feel stuck and want more out of life and follow your dreams, check out life coaching as a means to move forward.