Dr. Cali Estes - The Addictions Academy ®

The differences between Peer Recovery Coach and Professional Recovery Coach Certification Training

The differences between Peer Recovery Coach and Professional Recovery Coach Certification Training and why you should step up to the professional level of coaching.  


The differences between peer and professional coaching are very vast. A lot of people don’t know the differences between a peer recovery specialist, a professional recovery coach, and a peer recovery coach. Let’s see if this makes sense to you.


The Peer Recovery Specialist. The easiest one to eliminate is a peer recovery specialist which is basically a case manager. This is someone who makes between $10 and $15 per hour and works for a treatment center helping their clients prepare to leave the center and go into the real world. They may help them find a doctor, navigate sober living, find a meeting and complete basic case management duties including paperwork. They are case management and hands on aftercare. The state usually certifies this person, and it is more hands on training then educational skill level.


The Professional Recovery Coach verses the Peer Recovery Coach


  1. A professional recovery life coach will not go to a hospital at 3 o’clock in the morning and convince you to go to rehab. As a professional recovery coach your job is to help someone maintain sobriety, not provide an intervention. Peer recovery coaches for some reason have now started doing intervention in hospitals and putting people into treatment. A professional recovery coach understands that this is out of their scope of professionalism and focus is more on hourly and in person help to keep someone sober that has a period of sobriety. Professional recovery coaches will work in person or by zoom or phone.


  1. A professional life and recovery coach does not except insurance or Medicaid. Peer Recovery coaches have been taking Medicaid benefits in several states and this in turn leads to a very low pay around $20-$25 per hour of their time. Professional recovery coaches charge cash only and operates like a life coach. They make between $125 and $375 per hour for their services. A lot of people will say that is outrageous or you shouldn’t charge that much, or you should work for free. Professional life coaches understand the value of their worth and realize that nothing in life really is free. I’m not sure where the idea of people working in addiction recovery should work for free or low-cost ever came about but it definitely should not be something that we do. Coaches have a right to earn money and professional coaches really understand the value of business and what they bring to the table. While peer recovery coaches are willing to except less and deal with a higher stressful environment professional life and recovery coaches understand the business side of coaching and also how to market and present themselves to help more clients and also live a comfortable life. No one should work for free.


  1. Professional Addiction Coaches usually maintain a level of sobriety over 2 to 5 years before they even start training and coaching. The ever-growing tale of peer coaches that have a week sober, a month sober, or even two months sober has been a constant battle in the addiction space. Because the peer coach training has been offered free in the community a lot of people will take the free training and they are not even sober for a required period of time or can present in a professional manner. Because there is no guidance or governance on coaching no one is checking to make sure they’re not using and they have enough sobriety to be able to do the work to help other people the industry has been overrun with relapsing peer coaches. Professional Recovery and Life coaches go into this understanding that their recovery is solid and they are able to help more people with that understanding.


  1. Professional Addiction coaches are insured, certified, and bonded. All professional Recovery coaches that train under an ICF approved school like The Addictions Academy will take supervision and coach Mentorship with each program. The peer recovery coach program that is on the market right now does not have any supervision or any case studies. The problem with this is to take a 40 hour course and suddenly you’re supposed to know how to coach without actually doing any live coaching, supervision, Mentorship, or any clinical practicum that is necessary for you to become a good coach. This is a major flaw in the peer recovery coach system, and we see this when the certified peer coaches try to coach and they have a difficult client and they end up having a meltdown, getting angry with her client, posting on social media etc. They don’t know how to behave because they haven’t been mentored the correct way. The ICF requires hands on training to learn the skillset of coaching. The Addictions Academy offers a minimum of 10 hours which is one hour a week for 10 weeks up to 25 weeks of coaching so that you can hone your skills as a coach and be able to provide the best services for your client.


  1. A professional addiction recovery coach understands that there are several levels to coaching and the first level is how to coach the 11 core competencies of coaching set forth by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). At TAA we INLCUDE 6 hours of ethics and 10 hours of supervision. Professional recovery coaches that take the classes at The Addictions Academy are offered the above package which is 36 hours and they can add on a marketing class to learn how to market themselves as a top notch recovery coach. All of our Recovery coaches can also take a life coaching and any of our other 30 classes to add on including: sex addict coaching, Internet addiction coaching, food addiction coaching, sober companion certification, intervention professional training, nutrition coach, or even our big class the iMac. At TAA there is no additional charge for the ethics class or the supervision. We believe both are required components of offering the best services to your client.


The iMac is the International Master Addiction Coaching class which is 10 different certifications of coaching and 25 hours of supervision over six months. At The Addictions Academy, we believe that all professional coaches should continue adding to their educational base and offer additional services to their clients. No other educational institution has as many trainings as we do, nor as an expansive training portfolio of faculty around the world or the ability to offer as many classes as possible on their platform. Peer recovery coaches are offered one class and then they are able to add an ethics class for an additional charge and family coaching for an additional charge. I think bundled pricing with all the elements is a clear way to provide the best service to coach trainees.


  1. Peer recovery coaches follow the 12-step sobriety model which can be viewed by the public as glorified sober sponsor. An actual professional recovery coach should be well-versed in 12 step model, micro dose use, harm reduction, and utilizing many different ways to get sober with no one opinion on how the client should do it. Professional recovery life coaches understand that they need to be neutral and present for their client and meet them where they are. Peer recovery coaches have a tendency to push meetings and the antiquated 12 step model with a 95% fail rate as the only way for people to get sober. Peer recovery coaches also have a tendency to insert themselves and over share their personal experience with clients which all professional coaches know is a boundary violation. Professional addiction recovery coaches understand boundaries professionalism and how to keep the work professional life balanced.


At The Addictions Academy we want to offer the highest level of training approved by the ICF that can actually teach people how to use the 11 court competencies to coach. This is key in understanding how to get your client from ambivalent to working with you as a team effort. At the Addictions Academy we believe that hands-on training and mentorship a key in coaching each person to understand and explore their client relationship. We also want all of our certified addiction coaches to be able to gain business and help clients. We offer a 7 hour marketing class, which includes a FREE one year Directory Listing and a copy of our forms and contracts book to help you get your company started and start getting clients. We want you to be successful, we want you to help people and we also want you to make a decent living. We offer additional add-on trainings to expand your portfolio and learning experience and due to the most multi-faceted approach, we are accredited in 27 countries and have trained almost 20,000 people globally. We look forward to seeing you in class. If you want to study the professional side of addiction and work in the addiction treatment industry with credentials and ease. Call us today at 1-800-706-0318 if you have any questions or to register for one of our upcoming classes.

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