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Coaching versus Therapy – 3 Important Distinctions

coaching and therapy, difference between coaching and therapy, coaching versus therapy

The difference between coaching and therapy can be confusing at times. Depending on the style of a coach, and even sometimes the therapist, it can feel like the there is a lot of overlap.

Today I want to share with you the difference, as I see them, between coaching and therapy. In my almost four years as a Certified Life Coach, I have seen at least three (3) distinctions between the two disciplines.

Coaching and therapy start from the same basic premise. They both assume that a person has had some experience(s) in life that has, for better or worse, created outcomes no longer desired. And both coaches and therapist help clients improve their lives, make positive changes, and become more productive.

However, there are some important differences:

Coaches do not diagnose clients

Coaches start with the assumption that our clients are whole and we are there to support them in reaching their dreams, not to diagnose or fix them. There isn’t a severe problem that we are trying to fix. Therapy, on the other hand, is a long-term process that is designed to diagnose and resolve problematic behaviors. Coaching tends to be more short-term, focused on goals and specific outcomes desired.

Coaches aren’t trained to heal past traumas

A solid mental and emotional foundation are needed in coaching. Prospects have come to me who had issues from their past that had not been effectively addressed. It is outside the scope of my skillset to support that level of emotional need. When this happens I ALWAYS refer them to a therapist.

Emotions do get stirred up in coaching but our focus is on your thoughts and the subsequent actions created by those thoughts. We are shifting your thoughts to change your outcome, not looking to heal a past trauma.

Coaches are future & goal focused

In coaching, we look back but only to understand the blocks so we can move them out of your way. Digging up the past and lingering there is not within the scope of a coach’s practice unless they are trained as a psychotherapist as well.

In coaching, we are working to bring out your greatest potential. Specifically, in my work, I seek to support you in accessing your highest and best self. Boldly showing the most authentic parts of you that, for any number of reasons, has been suppressed, dampened, or otherwise hidden. I hold to the conviction that there is greatness in you and my goal is to support you in rising into that greatness.

Which is right for you?

Now that you see the difference between coaching and therapy, how do you know which one is right for you?

A therapist may be a better fit for you if you…

  • Have unresolved past trauma
  • Would like diagnosis and treatment of a mental health issue (for example depressions, anxiety, etc.)
  • Are in an emotionally or physically abusive situation

Coaching is right for you if you want to…

  • Feel more confident and courageous as you go after your goals
  • Work on improving your communication skills
  • Create a life that is in alignment with your values and what you most desire for yourself
  • Have accountability to stay the sometimes difficult road toward change

If you are feeling ready to access your brave, if you’re ready to let go of the damaging thoughts and beliefs that have kept you from your dreams and you want to explore if coaching is right for you, let’s talk.

Click here to schedule a complimentary Greatness Activation Call with me. On this call, we will look at what it is you REALLY want for yourself, what has been standing in your way, and what it is going to take to move you from where you are to where you want to be.

The call is free and there is no obligation. Schedule your call today.

Here’s to you finding your brave and rising into your greatness.

From my heart to yours,

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