The Difference Between Coaching and Therapy
Working with a therapist will help you answer the question: “Why?”
Working with a coach will help you answer the question: “What now?”
WHAT IS THE PRIMARY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COACHING AND THERAPY?
Although a limited amount of time is spent “looking back” and helping clients understand why their fears, values, beliefs, and personality exist. The goal is not to process the client’s past. The goal is to help the client become the best version of themselves.
WHEN IS IT BEST TO SEE A COACH INSTEAD OF A THERAPIST?
In other words: if you are overweight, and want to understand “Why do I overeat? What fears are preventing me from exercising? What painful emotions am I smothering with food?” Go to a therapist. If you are overweight and simply want to understand “How do I change? How do I develop a plan for losing weight and getting healthy? How do I prevent backsliding?” Go to a coach.
IF I HAVE BEEN TO THERAPY, WHAT DIFFERENCES WILL I NOTICE IN A COACHING SESSION?
First, your coach believes that you are the expert on you. Your coach is not there to assess or educate you about yourself. Your coach is there to provide the environment, tools, and information that allow you to do your best thinking and access your own brilliance. Your coach is simply the expert on drawing out and making sense of your inner wisdom.
Second, your coach will test your comfort zone. While therapists usually allow the client to dictate the pace of the sessions, a coach will challenge you to move forward more quickly than you would on your own. Your coach will ask you to get real about what you truly are not ready for, and what you are simply afraid of.
Finally, although working with a coach may help individuals with clinical disorders like anxiety, depression, addictions, or phobias, coaches are NOT trained to diagnose or treat these disorders. Individuals who believe they are suffering from a clinical condition such as depression should seek the attention of a therapist before or in combination to working with a coach.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO GET OUT OF COACHING?
A good coach will help you identify your strengths and your values. She will learn about your past without allowing you to dwell upon it. Instead of telling you what to do, she will push you with powerful questions until you yourself can no longer hide from the next step. Then, she will support you, as you courageously take those steps. She will not give up on you, nor will she let you fall back. But, if the circumstances require,
she will put your goals on hold to address unexpected or urgent matters as life presents them. Just as an athlete needs a coach to provide them with the tools to perform at their highest level, we too, need a coach to provide us with the tools, the steps, and the encouragement to perform at OUR highest level.