Therapy Vs. Life Coaching: What’s the difference?

Therapy and Life Coaching are very different but both very powerful tools that can provide clients with healing and personal growth that can create a meaningful and happy existence. A common misconception is that coaching is the same as therapy, when in fact they are quite different. Therapy is intended to help people recover from emotional or other psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety. Coaching, on the other hand, is intended to individuals achieve personal goals such as increased happiness, weight loss, improved work-life balance. etc.  There are times when possible that I integrate coaching in my counseling practice when the need presents itself.

The table below shows a quick side-by-side comparison of

Coaching vs. Therapy

Client is emotionally and psychologically healthy Client is emotionally unwell and in needs healing
Focuses on the present and future Focuses on dealing with the past
Driven by goals and taking action Driven by unresolved issues and feelings
Works toward a higher level of functioning Works to achieve understanding and emotional healing
Asks, “Where would you like to be and how can you get there?” Asks, “How did that make you feel?”
Done over the phone, internet or in person Done in an office setting
Contact between sessions expected (accountability and wins) Contact between sessions for crisis and difficulties only
Does not diagnose or treat. Diagnoses and treats.
Focus on evolving and manifesting potential. Focus on healing and understanding.
Emphasis on present and future. Emphasis on past and present.
Explore actions and behaviors that manifest high self-esteem. Explore genesis of behaviors that create low self-esteem.
Coach and client ask: “What’s next/what now?” Therapist and client ask: “Why and from where?”