Difference between Coaching & Therapy

Coaches and therapists share a common goal – to enhance well-being and outcomes for their clients. Deciding which is the best fit for the client depends on their current state of functioning and their needs and goals. Here is an overview of the primary differences:

Client’s Needs

Therapy

  • The patient is struggling with dysfunction related to psychological issues, concerns, or symptoms that interfere with daily tasks.
  • The patient needs help coping, alleviating pain, or distress related to trauma, disorders, or illness.
  • The patient wants to work through the problems and get back to normalcy
  • The patient is looking for a mental health professional to help them overcome and live well again.

Coaching

  • The client is functional and does fine with daily tasks.
  • The client is considered psychologically normal and copes well enough.
  • The client wants to be better, grow, or set and achieve higher goals.
  • The client wants to improve performance, relationships, or life satisfaction.
  • The client is looking for a success partner to help facilitate the next level of growth, advancement, or change.

Intervention:

Therapy 

  • Past, present, and future focused
  • Problem-or solution-focused, it varies
  • Can be strength-based, it varies
  • The therapist does offer advice, opinions, and solutions
  • The therapist is viewed as the expert to help resolve or process what’s wrong
  • Psychological testing, diagnosis, and treatment

Coaching

  • Present and future focused
  • Solution-focused and action-oriented
  • Strength-based
  • The coach does not offer advice, opinions, or solutions
  • The coach facilitates the client’s progress, growth, and resourcefulness
  • The coach helps the client build competencies and develop their own solutions. No diagnosing or treating.