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In the words of a wise man, “A great coach can help you achieve peak performance, but if you have injuries that haven’t healed properly, no amount of terrific coaching can help you go past them.”

This is where the industry’s biggest overlap occurs. Is there a distinction between coaching and therapy? If so, how would you go about defining it?

From therapy applications to trainers that specialise in aiding CEOs and entrepreneurs, there are a variety of paths to self-improvement. The difficulty is, how can you know which expert is best for your situation?

If you’ve contemplated life coaching or counselling (or both! ), you might be confused about the differences. You might even believe there isn’t a distinction to be made.  THERAPY and LIFE COACHING are not the same thing, and they serve different purposes.

So, what’s the difference between a life coach and a therapist?

We’ll go over the technical and legal differences between these two professions in the sections below. However, there are no losers in the battle of life coaching vs. therapy. It’s only a matter of deciding on the best approach for your mental health and life goals.

What is Life Coaching?

In life coaching, a client works with a coach to clarify goals and identify obstacles and problematic habits so that action plans can be developed to attain desired outcomes. The fundamental difference between a life coach and a therapist is that the life coach uses the client’s existing starting point as an acceptable neutral ground and then becomes more action-oriented from there. A life coach empowers the individual receiving treatment to take charge of their lives and take steps to achieve their objectives.

Life coaches, on the other hand, should get accreditation from an accredited organisation such as the International Coaching Federation. Unlike therapists, there are no educational requirements. Life coaches work with their clients to motivate them, provide emotional support, and instil confidence in them. Life coaches include a lot of former psychologists and counsellors.

Whether you want to lose weight or make a major career move, speaking with a professional life coach can help you overcome any mental barriers you may face. Having a coach is like having someone  accountable for your progress and seeking answers to.

What is Therapy?

Therapy, often known as counselling or psychotherapy, is a long-term process in which a client collaborates with a licensed practitioner to identify and overcome harmful beliefs, behaviours, interpersonal troubles, moods, and, in some cases, bodily responses. The goal of therapy is to transform self-destructive habits, heal and restore relationships, and work through painful feelings by focusing on past traumas and concerns. In this view, therapy focuses on the past, reflection, and analysis in order to resolve previous concerns and create a happier, more stable future.

Therapists, whether psychologists or counsellors, have a variety of master’s and doctorate degrees and are state-licensed. Licensed professionals use psychotherapy, often known as talk therapy, to work on understanding your thoughts, moods, and actions over time.

Therapy is well-known for its problem-solving skills and for its use in the treatment of anxiety, despair, and addiction. It’s also a strategy to improve your mental well-being in everyday life. To put it another way, you don’t need to have experienced a major life event or tragedy to benefit from counselling. Speaking with a professional can help you have a better understanding of how you seem to others, helps you get feedback on whatever you’re feeling and offers insight on how those emotions are affecting your everyday life.

Differences in Life Coaches vs Therapists

Life Coaches vs Therapists: There’s some overlap between the jobs of a career or life coach and a therapist, but they’re not the same thing. 

1.Regulatory Bodies

To begin, therapists must complete educational and licencing standards in order to conduct treatment. Coaches aren’t held to the same high standards as athletes. Anyone can call themselves a “coach,” and their level of experience varies greatly. The International Coaching Federation, a self-regulatory body that provides coaching training and certification, is working to change this. Still, anyone who wants to use the title of coach can do so because coaching is an unregulated industry at this time.

Therapists must have the requisite levels of education, training, and ongoing education to use the title of psychotherapist, which is licenced and regulated by the state in which they practise. Despite the fact that many coaches seek specific coach training and certification, no state board demands it.  

2. Areas of Expertise

One of the key differences between life coaching and therapy is the emphasis on expertise. Life coaches help clients identify and characterise problematic behaviours so that they may work to change them. Therapists use their clients’ histories to better understand their current actions. In other words, therapists concentrate on “why” particular behavioural patterns emerge, whereas coaches concentrate on “how” to achieve a goal.

The focus of therapy will be on your thoughts and feelings, as well as how they are influenced by your past. While life coaching may touch on these principles when you evaluate your pattern and break down your limiting beliefs, its ultimate focus is always on the present and future.

3. Insurance 

Because therapists can use reimbursement codes for the treatment of specific mental health conditions, therapy is frequently covered by health insurance. Because coaches do not assign diagnoses, insurance companies do not fund coaching at this time.

While most therapists charge by the session, coaches frequently offer packages or programmes that last anywhere from six weeks to six months or longer. This is crucial to consider because treatment is a pay-as-you-go charge, whereas coaching may be a greater upfront cost that requires a larger financial commitment.

4. Authorisation and Licensing 

Therapy is provided by a competent healthcare professional who can assist patients in confronting and coping with a traumatic past, improving their relationships with others and with oneself, and effectively identifying, processing, and dealing with their emotions. In addition, a licenced therapist can diagnose, monitor, and treat mental health problems.

Unless he or she is independently licenced as a healthcare practitioner, a life coach is not a healthcare professional. A life coach assists clients in setting objectives, identifying effective behaviours, and overcoming specific challenges such as procrastination when preparing for a public address. Instead of addressing events that have occurred in the past, a coach functions as a mentor to help the client focus on what can be changed now and in the future. Coaches can also assist their clients in developing practical measures to achieve their objectives.

5. End Goals and Vision

When considering the differences between coaching and counselling, it’s crucial to remember that counselling allows clients to explore and understand their subconscious and unconscious minds. Its purpose is to have a comprehensive understanding of habits and patterns in order to improve overall mental health. This is why counselling and treatment for sadness and anxiety can be beneficial.

The purpose of life coaching is to assist you in becoming “unstuck.” Life coaching is all about taking action and getting outcomes. Key performance indicators and particular behavioural outcomes are used by life coaches to assess their clients’ achievement. They’ll help you develop SMART goals, hold you accountable, and celebrate your victories – all while guiding you toward your goals.

Life Coaching vs Therapy in a Chart

A Life Coach will-

  1. Change your mindset and provide a realistic outside perspective.
  2. Make a strategy for bringing about constructive change.
  3. Boost your self-confidence.
  4. Coaching that focuses on finding solutions
  5. Make an effort to strike a work-life balance.
  6. Inquire about any limiting beliefs you may have regarding your abilities.
  7. Reframe previous events with an eye on creating positive adjustments for the present and future you.
  8. Goal-setting, goal-setting, goal-setting, goal-setting, goal-setting, goal-setting, goal
  9. Take action and track your progress.
  10. Effectively adapt to life’s changes.
  11. Boost your motivation.
  12. Learn a new skill.

A Therapist will-

  1. With the ultimate goal of improving mental health, treat mental illness, clinical anxiety, or depression.
  2. Assist you in recovering from past trauma.
  3. Recognize the patterns and triggers that lead to self-destructive behaviour.
  4. Examine previous failed relationships, such as divorces, estrangements, or poisonous friendships.
  5. Problem-Oriented Therapy (POT) 
  6. Assist you with the grieving process.
  7. Deal with the aftermath of a tragic loss.
  8. Assist you in evaluating your subconscious and unconscious thinking.
  9. Addiction or substance abuse should be treated.
  10. Deal with marital strife, abuse, and violence.

Similarities Between Life Coach and Therapist

Did you ask where the overlap is? There are some parallels. Both assist individuals in making positive life adjustments and becoming more productive. While therapists diagnose and treat patients from a medical standpoint, not all therapy clients are sick; many healthy people seek the help of therapists and life coaches. Therapists may work toward a specific outcome, such as the termination of a harmful behaviour.

Despite some overlap, therapists and life coaches have quite different jobs and procedures.

Coaches and therapists, both give helpful tools and can help in different ways. We emphasise the necessity of conducting some preliminary research to choose a competent expert who best fits your needs — and then welcoming that individual with an open mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Life Coach vs Therapist, are they the same?

Life Coach vs Therapist, are not the same. Both aid people in making great changes in their lives and becoming more productive. Despite certain similarities, the tasks and practices of therapists and life coaches are vastly different.

What is life coaching?

A life coach encourages the person receiving treatment to take control of their lives and take action toward their goals. Life coaches help their clients by motivating them, providing emotional support, and instilling confidence. Many former psychologists and counsellors work as life coaches.

What is a therapist?

Therapists, whether psychologists or counsellors, are state-licensed and hold a variety of master’s and doctorate degrees. Psychotherapy, often known as talk therapy, is a type of therapy in which licensed experts work with you to better understand your ideas, moods, and actions over time.

What is the difference between a life coach and a therapist?

In order to provide treatment, therapists must meet training and licensing requirements. Coaches aren’t held to the same high standards as athletes when it comes to performance. Anyone can call themselves a “coach,” and their experience levels vary widely.

What does a therapist do?

Assist you with your bereavement.

Dealing with the aftermath of a sad loss is a difficult task.

Assist you in assessing your subconscious and unconscious thought patterns.

Substance abuse or addiction should be addressed.

Deal with marital issues such as infidelity, abuse, and violence.