Center for Coaching Certification

The Difference between Therapy and Coaching

by Beth Donovan – www.CoachBeth.usBeth Donovan

I have had clinical major depression turned bipolar depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder ever since childhood.  I needed therapy to help me with such things because I required diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment during my childhood included hospitalization and talk therapy.  Later in life, cognitive-behavioral therapy helped more, where I became more aware and was actively working on my thinking according to past and present.  Eventually, medication helped the very most.

As I became more familiar with coaching, I discovered there were distinct differences. Coaching does not deal with a diagnosis or treatment; it simply creates awareness around where a person is and helps move them forward from where they are currently.  Coaching is very positive and does not dwell in the pain of the past because coaching is forward-focused.

Coaching views the client as an expert.  Coaching is a conversation to bring out the client’s absolute best self and inner expertise.  The coach asks powerful questions to bring out the true brilliance of the client, provoke thought, self-discovery, and create change.

Coaching focuses on self-awareness, growth, and development, strategy and action plan with a return on investment, while therapy focuses on healing the inner conscious and subconscious mind.  It is the difference between being able to see the results for your money in a measurable way.

Coaching is more short term, while therapy is often long term.  Often, therapy goes on for years due to digging up the past and analyzing, testing, medications, treatments, talk, and behavioral therapy.  Coaching explores where you are, where you want to go, supports creating an action plan, establishing accountability, considering different perspectives, clarity and more.  Coaching conversations move you forward.

Whether you seek coaching or therapy depends on your objective.

  • Is your problem stemming from the past?
  • Do you require input from an expert, such as a diagnosis or medication?
  • Do you have a challenge to move through to get to your future?
  • Do you feel you want clarity and perspective?
  • Which best suits your personal objectives?
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