On one hand, it is an honor that someone trusts you well enough to open up in this way. On the other hand, it is tiring — especially when the person does not seem to be making much progress in life.
The advantage of going to a professional is that the bonds of friendship are not interfering with the counselling. I’m not saying to not use friends as counsellors, but there are limits to what friends can accomplish. Counsellors are trained to ask the right questions at the right time. Friends may not have those talents.
And with counsellors, it is unlikely one’s foibles will be blabbed to the rest of one’s community!