Coaches and therapists share a common goal – to enhance well-being and outcomes for those they serve. Some therapists are also coaches. Some coaches are also therapists. Deciding which is the best fit for the client depends on their needs and goals. Keep in mind, the same client may work with a therapist and a coach to address different needs and goals. It doesn’t have to be a question of one or the other. Here’s an overview of the primary differences:
Think of wellness on a continuum with the mid-point as 0 representing normal functioning. Negative numbers are to the left of 0 and represent dysfunction. Positive numbers are to the right of 0 and represent thriving. Therapy addresses dysfunction with the goal of bringing clients back to normal functioning (0). Coaching takes functional clients from 0 into positive numbers to thriving.
Coaches help clients take a proactive role in their lives, to begin setting and working toward goals to learn to thrive by doing, because we all hit setbacks in life. If we accept just okay (normal functioning) we remain consistently at-risk of falling into dysfunction and dependence. If we remain proactive, working toward thriving (positive numbers) and hit setbacks we’re still better than okay. We’re also better equipped to bounce back and continue the forward momentum.