I’d like to offer some of my thoughts on coaching versus therapy. I was a therapist in the UK and have embraced coaching as a way to make a positive impact in peoples’ lives (including my own) since relocating to the US.
There are many types of therapists, as there are different types of coaches. Some even practice both – although not at the same time. I won’t endeavor to disseminate the different types of coaching or therapy. Rainy days and internet searches are best saved for such a thing.
Both are grounded in the relationship to facilitate change, healing and growth. Each individual coach or therapist is key to the success of the relationship and work. For any change to occur, you have to trust and be able to work with your coach or therapist.
The work can be tough in both; challenging long held beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Therapy traditionally seeks to understand the past, in order to heal the present. Coaching seeks to understand the present in order to succeed in the future.
There is a grey area where the two overlap, especially as therapy is now embracing positive psychology. Coaching has always been rooted in positive psychology.
There are many similar traits that a coach or therapist need to work with clients – effective listening being crucial to both.
To be a therapist is a long process, which requires training, credentialing and accountability. Coaching does not have the same requirements. Anyone can call themselves a coach and not be accountable. However, there are fantastic coaches out there, who are trained and credentialed. The International Coach Federation provides accountability to those who are members.
I hope this has been helpful in providing some similarities and differences. There are many great coaches and therapists out there. It all depends on what you need to move forward in your life. Wishing you well on your journey.
Laura Haywood is an authentic life coach working in the Raleigh area in North Carolina, supporting clients on their journey to personal growth and understanding; in their transitions and in acceptance of self and others.