Coaching vs Therapy - What's the difference?

I hear this question often. So often, in fact that I have add coaching to my practice and will share what the difference is so that you can decide what would best serve you.  Learn more by clicking the 'Coaching with Robyn' button below. 

Let's make this fun. Play this quick game of True or False to test your knowledge.  

T or F: 
COACHING is an educational, discovery-based process of human potential.
THERAPY is based on the medical model: people have psychiatric illnesses that need to be healed/treated.

T or F: 
COACHING asks "What is next? How will I do that?"
THERAPY asks "What happened & Why"?

T or F: 
COACHING seeks to bring more power, control and joy to the client.
THERAPY seeks to remove the client's pain and heal wounds.

T or F:
COACHING has strategies, objectives and timelines.
THERAPY has a treatment plan with no deadlines.

T or F:
COACHING takes an active, energetic approach.
THERAPY takes a more passive, reflective, background approach.

ANSWERS: If you guessed TRUE to all of the above then you're one smart cookie! 

Coaching is focused on the present and the future so it is where you can learn how to use healthy and helpful ways of navigating through life.

There are four main areas that are addressed when working in a coaching capacity:

  1. Defining goals
  2. Formulating a plan that will use the client’s skills
  3. Holding the client accountable for progress
  4. Providing structure, encouragement and support

Coaching is goal and solution oriented where therapy is process and healing oriented. 

Both therapists and coaches typically strive to create a client centered, collaborative partnership. They both form a respectful and trusting relationship that fosters deep listening and active communication.

They both believe that clients are capable of finding their own unique solutions to issues, rather than having them come from another person. Coaches and therapist both ask questions to illicit insight as well as raise awareness in order for clients to meet their goals. 

High ethical and professional standards are held by both therapists and coaches. They both place the needs of their clients above anything else and know how to practice within their scope. Mostly, they know when to refer a client out to another person if their needs are outside of their training and effectiveness.  

This is clearly not an exhaustive explanation of the difference between therapy and coaching so I encourage you to keep reading, do your research and find a professional that you connect with.