Coaching vs Therapy

If life is a ball of yarn, therapy helps you unravel the tangles.  Coaching helps you knit a sweater. ~ Nancy Gerber

Life Coaching is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client’s personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what the obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make the client’s life be what they want it to be.

Let’s say you wanted to learn to drive a car. If you hired a:

Therapist, the therapist would help you find out what might be holding you back from driving the car.  He would delve into your past to discover what kinds of experience you have had with automobiles and what memories, fears, beliefs where preventing you from feeling proficient.
Consultant, the consultant would bring you an owner’s manual and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the workings of a car. The consultant would then leave you. She might return six months later to see how you had managed the actual driving part.
Mentor, the mentor would share her experiences of driving cars and the wisdom and lessons she had learned in her more rich experience with the matter.
Coach, the coach would seat you in the car, place himself in the passenger seat, and encourage, endorse, acknowledge and support you until you felt comfortable enough to go it alone.  A coach is free to use techniques of the therapist, consultant or mentor, but ultimately their job is to put you into action heading towards your goal.


Therapy         Coaching
Focuses on healing and understanding Focuses on evolving and manifesting potential; healing is a side-effect
Emphasizes past and present Emphasizes present and future
Is insight-oriented Is action and ‘being’ oriented
Is problem-oriented Is solutions-oriented
Explores genesis of behaviors that create low self-esteem Explores actions and behaviors that manifest high self-esteem
Asks “why?” and “from where?” Asks “what’s next / what now?”
Works mainly with internal issues Works mainly with external issues
Accountability is not commonly expected Accountability is commonly expected
Uses therapy techniques Uses coaching skills


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