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What is the difference between Life Coaching and Therapy?

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Life Coaching, Mentoring and Therapy (or Counselling) are often loosely lumped together, since they all have the goal of helping a person grow and transform - however they are very different in several ways. All three have their time and place, none is inherently better than another, there are setting in which one is clearly better than another.

In this post I will compare Therapy and Life (or Mindset) Coaching. I previously wrote a post on the Differences between Mentoring and Life Coaching if that's what you're after.

Therapy (Counselling, Psychology, etc.)

This service is mostly used to address a specific theme or issue that is preventing the person from living a healthy life, or even is affecting the rest of their lives, such as the presence of a mental health condition.

Quite often the sessions with a Therapist will focus on reviewing past events, trying to assign meaning (or reassign), untangling them or seeking a new understanding. with which the client can live in a better way.

Common criticisms of traditional therapy mention the excessive review and even reliving of past events, with little practical action and sometimes even reigniting past trauma.

The main area in which therapy excels is in treating and managing Mental Health conditions, which might be affecting the normal day to day functioning of a client's life.

Life Coaching

Life Coaching can take a broader approach, not only focusing on themes that are "coming from the mind", but of more practical nature such as losing weight, achieving a major life goal or changing careers.

Other common themes I have assisted clients with include:

  • building confidence, either at work or self-confidence (e.g. being comfortable in own body)

  • improving resilience and managing change with ease

  • developing a high performance mindset

  • getting rid of negative emotions and influences (e.g. excessive anger or shame)

  • working on fears and phobias (e.g. spiders, heights)

  • create a life vision, goals and action plans that will get you there

  • changing habits (e.g. quit smoking)

The focus of a Life Coach helping the coachee develop the skills and learn tools to achieve the goals they set out by themselves, and finding the answers to their own questions themselves, with the Coach only being a facilitator of this change instead of a crutch or an actively involved helper.

Interested in learning more about how I could help You? Book a free 30 min call here.

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