What’s the difference between a sober coach and a sponsor?

One of my most frequently asked questions is, What's the difference between a sober coach and a sponsor? Coaching is relatively new and only a few have a specialty in sobriety and recovery. On the other hand most people have heard of a sponsor as someone who guides people in AA, NA, and other twelve-step programs. There are some similarities between the two but essentially they're very different roles.

What does a sober coach do?

  1. Coaching is future focused. We might discuss past events that are relevant but the majority of our time is in the present and planning the future.
  2. Our work together is tailored specifically for you. We aren't going through a set curriculum.
  3. We work towards your goals. There's no part of the process where I tell you what your goals should be or impose upon you goals that I think people "should" do.
  4. As a coach I've gone through many hours of training from several different organisations. (This might not be true of all coaches because the title isn't protected.)
  5. I'm bound by a professional code of ethics. My work has been evaluated by instructors.
  6. As I coach and mentor, I meet you where you are with compassion, and there's no judgment, even if you think you're "failing".
  7. Coaching is an investment. It's not free and requires an investment of your time and spirit as well as money.

The biggest similarity is an important one: both coaches and sponsors want to help you stay sober. I call myself a "recovery coach" since most of the people I work with are already sober and are working on the big questions of "what's next". Can you have both? Absolutely. Many of my clients are also in AA, and I'm glad they've got a sponsor and a group on their support team as well.

What kind of support do you need?

A sponsor is someone who's been in the program for a while and can explain and keep you motivated for the deep work of doing the steps. If you're not in a 12-step program then obviously that doesn't apply, but I still hear people say they're looking for a "non-AA sponsor". Usually what they mean is someone they can call in a moment of crisis. Recently I've started offering an "SOS" service and it has become a valuable part of supporting people as they figure out what works for them. If you need someone on call for you, book a call and let's get started.

Are you ready?

Take a half hour to find out what's possible for you.