Coaching & Therapy have many similarities, but there are also some distinct differences. At the root of counseling is the treatment of a mental health or relationship issue that is causing significant distress for a person or a family. Coaching, on the other hand, presumes that an individual or family are actually doing fairly well but are in need of some extra guidance and support.
One way to describe the difference is comparing a physical therapist to a football coach. A physical therapist may help an athlete when they are recovering from an injury or issue that is causing a decline in normal activities. A coach, on the other hand, works with the athlete when they are physically capable but needing a professional’s guidance to get even better.
Therapy and coaching are similar in that they are both goal-oriented, provide interventions to help with behavior change, are client-focused, and can hold individuals and families accountable for the change they want to see.
Coaching may be suitable for issues related to:
- Parenting – Includes general parenting coaching and education, parenting a child with developmental concerns or mental health issues, or when there are parenting difficulties within the parent-to-parent relationship
- Chronic Illness – Making behavior changes to improve health and wellness, improving the management of chronic illness (such as diabetes).
- Life transitions – Gaining clarity around career, moving, or personal development
- Helping Families Manage Transitions in Elderly Care
- Divorced Parent Coaching– for divorced parents
- Parent Coaching/Technology
Our skills as therapists are well-suited to coaching, and clients who begin a coaching relationship stay as a coaching client. A therapist is not able to switch between therapy and coaching once it begins.
What are the differences between coaching and therapy?
Therapy Vs. Coaching
Coaching Presumes Mental Health Wellness (no pathology)
Therapy Focuses on treating disorder or dysfunction, either in an individual or a system.
Further reading – American Counseling Association
Are you wondering if coaching is right for you? A phone call with our client care team can help determine if you qualify for coaching services or if counseling would best meet your needs.