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Coaching vs therapy

As I’ve started this coaching process, I’ve been asked numerous times: “What is the difference between coaching and therapy?”


I love this question because I think there’s so much dang confusion about this out in the world, including in me.


At its core, coaching is about helping a person solve for a particular problem or achieve a specific goal. Therapy is about helping a person address their mental health and well being. Coaches most often use approaches focused on the present while therapists often use approaches focused on understanding how our past impacts our current behaviors, mindsets, mental illness, etc. Coaches are also intended to be in relationship with a client for a relatively shorter period of time (less than 6 months) while therapists often plan to be in relationship with a client for relatively longer period of time (more than 6 months).


If you have been to therapy you know that any good therapist has probably enacted some coaching tactics to help you reach your peak mental health and wellness. And, likely, if you have had a good life coach you have probably experienced them asking about your past.


Due to strict regulations, therapists/counselors must abide by a rigorous set of standards, ethics and confidentiality boundaries or face the complaint process or loss of licensure. For this reason, from a legal perspective, therapists can be coaches but coaches can’t be therapists without the necessary education and credentials and adherence to the regulations.


So, with all that said…how do you know when to seek out a therapist vs when you should seek out a coach. Stay tuned for more on my next post…

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