How is Life Coaching Different than Therapy?
While therapy and coaching are both counseling modalities, traditional psychotherapy and life coaching differ in a few key areas. Life coaches do not diagnose the people they work with, while therapists are medical professionals who determine illnesses and pathologies so their patients can be clinically treated.
In therapy, patients and clinicians tend to spend a great deal of time exploring the past and diagnosing past traumas and/or medically based disfunction to change self-destructive habits. With this in mind, therapy typically tends to focus on that disfunction rather than moving the patient forward.
Life Coaching is entirely based on moving clients into action with particular goals as the objective. While the coach is greatly concerned with who clients are, and values that our pasts often define our who, the focus is on moving clients forward. The focus of coaching is to guide clients from functional to optimal in all areas of their personal and professional lives. A life coach enables their clients to take control of their lives and take action to steer them toward their goals.
Therapy and life coaching do share certain traits and aims. However, whether you choose to work with a life coach or therapist, both work to enable clients to make positive changes in their lives and become more productive. While therapists diagnose and treat from a healthcare perspective, not all therapy clients are ill; many healthy people seek the services of both therapists and life coaches. Despite occasional areas of overlap, the work and processes of therapists and life coaches are distinct.