I am often asked what the biggest differences are between coaching and therapy. Ultimately, coaching helps you to set and achieve goals while therapy can help you look at the challenges and find solutions. Coaches are often trained with forward growth in mind while therapists are trained extensively in dynamics, development, and mental health among other topics.
If you are facing an emotional hardship, or challenge that is stopping you from being able to function at work, in life or in your relationship, therapy is likely more appropriate for your work. If you are facing a challenge or two in your life but otherwise all things seem okay, coaching is likely a great fit. If things seem out of balance, or stress levels are higher than average… maybe you need a bit of clarity or a plan to help you manage some of the things that are bothering you, then coaching might be a great model for you.
With therapy, the question is often why, and the focus is frequently the past into the present. The work is often done under a diagnostic umbrella (from a healthcare perspective) and will help you to overcome any psychological barriers. With coaching, the question is often how, and the focus is frequently the present into the future. There is a level of mindfulness and insight to be gained to change the path you are on by changing the here and now and how you think, react, and behave. The goal for both is to learn and grow, but the focus, modality, and skills tend to shift with each.
In my work, I focus on whole body and often what is most pressing by chatting about what you face in the day to day and what prompted you to reach out, regardless of which modality. Coaching remains a present and yet forward thinking solution-focused work. Because I have training and am licensed as a clinical social worker, although those skills are not the focus, they are also not lost in our coaching work. What does that mean? You can often get the best of both worlds.
Therapeutic work may include:
- Management of anxious feelings and gaining tools and insights to combat them
- Help to learn ways to work through and cope with feelings that are challenging the way you are functioning at work home or school
- Work to understand relationships and why there is conflict or patterns
- Emotional exploration or explorations in patterns of communication or relationships
- Overcome impact of past trauma or grief and loss
Coaching work may include:
- Improving communication skills to improve relationships
- Gaining insight into problem areas and naming goals for forward growth
- Finding balance in work and life or professional and personal
- Utilizing self-care and relational care techniques to improve quality of life
- Decrease stress and improve overall happiness
Ethically, in the same ways that it is my responsibility to let you know if your needs do not fit my expertise; it is also my duty to let you know if therapy or coaching would be a better suited model for you. So let’s figure it out together.
If you decide to work with me you’ll find out that I’m full of random analogies and metaphors so I’ll draw on one of those here to really make things clear. Imagine a hole or a trench… if you feel you are in there trying to climb out, trying to try live life on a new path but there is nothing to really grab onto, and it’s getting harder to see how this is possible, then therapy might be for you. While if you imagine you are on solid ground but see a mountain in your path and you are not sure how to conquer it, not sure you have the skills to make it over but are desperate to keep going? Then coaching might be for you. Let’s chat and we can decide together what best suits your needs, goals, and desires.