Coaching vs. Therapy

Two of the main questions I get asked are,  “What is the difference between Coaching and Therapy?” and “Is life coaching similar to talk therapy?”

Both are legit questions.

After all, you need to be able to decide which is better for your needs, a life coach or a therapist.

Below you will find a breakdown of the differences

the difference between coaches and therapists

The 9 Main Differences Between Life Coaching And Psychotherapy

  1. Coaching focuses on the present and the future, where Therapy focuses on dealing with the past.  That is not to say in Coaching that we don’t learn about the past but we don’t “live” in that space, we go for a little visit to gather information.
  2. Coaching is driven by goals and taking action, where Therapy is driven by an unresolved past. In Coaching the goal is to get you to where you want to be. It is important if you have not reached a resolution with your past and you feel that it effects you from moving forward with your life to seek out a therapist along with Coaching or begin Coaching after you have resolved the issues from your past.
  3. In Coaching, we work toward a higher level of functioning. In Therapy, you work to achieve emotional healing. So what does a higher level of functioning mean? It is learning multiple tools to help achieve your goals and maintain the changes you seek.
  4. Coaching is results-based and focuses on exploring solutions. In Therapy, you explore the root of problems. It is important to understand the root of problems, without that knowledge it can be extremely difficult to make the changes you seek and reach the goals you desire. Without knowing the root, we will continue making the same decisions over and over again.
  5. Coaching asks “Where would you like to be and how can you get there”. Therapy asks “How did that make you feel?” We ask the feeling question in Coaching as well. We use the answer to connect it to your goals and not explore the deep-seeded emotion behind it.
  6. In Coaching, we act on information. Through therapy, you absorb information. In both, there is acting on and taking in information, it is set up a bit differently. As we have learned the whole of Coaching is action toward the set goal(s). Therapy does not necessarily have anything to do with action or moving forward.
  7. In the main, Coaching is remote, normally meeting over the phone, in person, via Skype. In Therapy, you meet in an office.
  8. When meeting with a Coach, it is a collaborative effort between you and the coach. In Therapy, the therapist is the expert.
  9. Contact between sessions in Coaching is expected. In Therapy, outside contact is for crisis only.

I hope these differences between Coaching and Therapy have been helpful.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions or would like further information.