The Difference Between Life Coaching and Therapy

The Difference Between Life Coaching and Therapy

Hey Dee: What is the Difference Between Coaching and Therapy?

I was recently asked about the difference between life coaching and therapy, so I know that wasn’t the only person who was wondering.

I think there’s absolutely a time and a space for both practices in helping people improve their mental health and wellness, but depending on where you are at in your journey through life one might be more fitting for you than the other.

So I’ll start by explaining therapy and then move on to life coaching for the contrast.

What Therapy Is

  • Past focus: Therapists will help you work through things that happened in the past that are impeding your progress in the presence.
  • Therapists help you process and release trauma and mental illness that interferes with everyday life demands.
  • The goal of therapy is to help you return to “normal functioning” – where trauma and/or mental illness does not prevent you from getting out of bed, working, having healthy relationships, etc.
  • Therapists will help you heal old wounds, which is important if you have never processed your trauma.
  • Spend a lot of time talking about what’s in the rear view mirror

What Life Coaching Is

  • Future focus: life coaches will help you create a goal and vision for your life and hold you accountable for creating something other than your “default future” – the future that would happen without intervention or change.
  • Any big goal/change will trigger your brain to throw shade to maintain status quo. This is normal but your survival brain will try and convince you there’s something wrong with you.
  • Life coaches will help you process and release emotions, self-doubt, and fear that come with change.
  • Tony Robbins explains that “A results life coach is someone who helps you identify your goals and develop an actionable plan to achieve them.”
  • A life coach will help you maximize your full potential and reach your desired results in life.
  • And design, create and accomplish a future that is different than you would have arrived at by default with no coach, creativity and commitment

What I Love to Focus on as a Life Coach

For the work I do with clients it is to help transform them from normal functioning to high performance, from mental health to mental excellence. I use evidence-based research in my design and approach to working with clients. I’m not guessing what will work or help. And I’m not just picking something that worked for me and helping you apply it. It’s grounded in solid research by the top scientists, psychologists, medical doctors and peak performance researchers.

I love my coaching practice because I’ve designed it to be able to work with people all over the world, you don’t have to be local to be one of my clients!!

How I Help My Life Coaching Clients

Here’s some of the most important things that I work on with clients:

  • Clarity of Vision/Goals: often my clients are chasing the wrong things or don’t even know what they want. I help them create inspired vision and goals for their ideal lives.
  • Mindset: we must learn to be the leaders of our brains so that we can stop being the followers of fear. I teach practical tools to help my clients become the observer of their thoughts, because our thoughts create everything in life. Everything starts with a thought; our thoughts create our emotions; our emotions drive our actions; and our actions dictate our results in life. Want better results? You must start with thoughts.  
  • Emotions: Everything we do in life is to feel or avoid feeling a certain way. Most of us don’t know how to own, accept and feel negative feelings. Instead we distract, numb and avoid feeling the bad which ends up creating a lot of suffering in our lives.
  • Relationships with others: the biggest source of stress in most of our lives comes from our relationships. I help my clients learn what they will tolerate, create healthy boundaries, and check in on the unwritten expectations they have that may be adding to their frustrations.
  • Relationship with self: our very most important is often our most neglected relationship of them all. I help clients stop the cycles of self-loathing and self-abuse so that they can show up with confidence, feel worthy, and prioritize self-love and self-care.
  • Taking action and holding you accountable to the change you seek: don’t just learn new things. Take consistent, inspired daily action and you can truly achieve anything you desire. The key word is action.

Things to Consider When Hiring a Life Coach

Now that you understand the difference between therapy and life coaching, it’s important to understand the training and credentials of life coaches. There’s no one single or widely recognized life coaching certification or training program. There’s no single regulatory, licensing or governing body either. There are some organizations that want to regulate the industry while selling certification which is a bit of a conflict of interest.

The upside to there not being tons of regulation is that there’s lots of different ways you can be coached. You can find a program and methodology that truly fits where you are at in your life.

But the downside is that there’s a low barrier of entry for coaches. This can lead to individuals who offer big hype and low results. This can create skepticism about life coaching  and or the need for coach.

But coaching has to be good. Because people keep signing up for it, getting results, and transforming their lives. It’s a $1B industry, according to Harvard Business Review. Even highly decorated Olympians like Michael Phelps have coaches to trim even thousandths of seconds off his lap time.

My Strengths as a Life Coach

Not all life coaches are created equally. I’m proud of my experience and the results I help my clients create in their lives.

I have more than 5.5 years experience as a professional coach. This includes more than 8500 hours of 1:1 coaching, 4500 of individualized, formalized development of my coaching and mentoring skills.

I earned a doctorate of management in organizational leadership, with my research focus in performance excellence. My academic background helps me to identify, evaluate and use well researched, science backed tools and methods to help clients create change in the lives.

Life Coaching for Your Unlived Life

My ultimate goal is to help high functioning people who want to go from good to great; to become extraordinary rather than just great.  I want to become your secret weapon, your competitive advantage for improving all aspects of your life, career, relationships, and your future.  I can help you reach your unlived life – that dream life that feels better, is happier, more successful, full everything that life might be short on today.

If you’re interested in learning more about working with me, book a free mini-session on my calendar!

I hope this post helped you understand the difference between therapy and life coaching. If you still have questions, comment below and I’d be happy to answer them!


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