- Coaching focuses on the future and delves into the question: “How?”
Therapy focuses on the past and delves into the question: “Why?”
Coaching is future-focused and based on the premise that you are whole and capable of leading a fabulous and happy life. While a coach may ask about your past in order to identify what a predictable pattern may be for you, coaching really aims to break free from that so you can live the future of your dreams. Therapy focuses on the past and generally helps you to heal something about yourself; oftentimes focusing on triggers you may have from childhood. Ultimately, therapy helps restore an adequate level of functioning in the present, while coaching helps you reach a higher level of functioning now and in the future as well.
- Coaching explores: “What would you like to create?”
Therapy explores: “What do you want to fix?”
Coaching creates a safe space—free of judgment—for a client to identify what they most crave in life and then partner with their coach to powerfully move in the direction of those goals with insight, inspiration and accountability. It assumes that you have control over the type of future you’d like to create for yourself and then sets you on the path to achieve it. Therapy instead focuses on fixing or eliminating a problem or dysfunction you might be experiencing so you can get back to “normal.”
- In the coaching relationship, the Client and Coach become partners.
In the therapy relationship, the Therapist is the expert.
Coaching is based on the premise that you hold the answers within you. You know who you are, and you know what you want. A coach will help you identify those core goals, offer insight about what’s holding you back and co-create a process for you to get the results you’re after. You are responsible for creating these results through action and commitment. Therapy clients generally see the therapist as the expert and the one who holds all the answers to heal and fix them. The therapist will distinguish for you what your problem means and support you in achieving catharsis.
- A Coach is catalytic.
A Therapist is nurturing.
While both coaches and therapists are empathetic listeners, working with a coach can be confronting, as you are challenged to break free from your subconscious patterns and survival mechanisms in order to achieve the things you haven’t been able to achieve thus far. A therapist will likely be patient and use indirect communication while a coach will challenge you, test your comfort zone and use direct communication to get you where you want to go more quickly.