Coaching vs. Therapy

I spoke to a possible client today and I offered her a coaching session because she seemed blocked in her ability to define her goals. She told me that she had never had good luck with therapy. Wait, what? I wasn’t offering to be her therapist.

This conversation made me realize that a lot of people might not understand exactly what coaching is, and how it differs from therapy.

A therapist may look at your past. She looks for deep-seated issues, and how they made you who you are today. A goal of therapy is to move someone from dysfunction to function. For example, maybe help them learn how to hold down a job and function on a day-to-day basis. They help you understand your emotions. There are many, many directions that therapy can take you, and much of it is based on the past. 

Coaches move you forward. We can validate and acknowledge the past, but it is not the focus of our work together. The past is not your full picture. Sure, it gets a nod, because it impacts who we are and our outlook but it is the FUTURE that coaching focuses on. 

When I met with my own coach, I had “aha”moments and was able to identify some past thoughts I had that kept me blocked. Coaching is solution based. We look at specific actions. What step can you take next?  By addressing these tasks in my own coaching sessions,  I was able to move forward and perform at my own optimal level. And it was great to know that I wasn’t judged or given advice. Instead, my coach worked with me to uncover my own solutions. 

Coaches believe that each of us already knows the answers–we just have to access them. Coaches help you uncover the thoughts and emotions that are holding you back. Dig a little deeper. This empowers you, and from this empowerment you will be able to change and grow. And there is never any judgment or advice–just thought-provoking questions and conversation.

If you have questions about coaching, call me. Whenever you are ready, I’m hear to listen. Together, we can dig a little deeper and access your own answers.