Q. What is the difference between Coaching and Therapy?

A. This is my most frequently asked question.  The following is my short answer to give you a clearer picture.
A common misconception is that coaching is the same as therapy when in fact they are quite different.  Therapy is intended to help people recover from emotional or other psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, or addictions.  Coaching is intended to help emotionally and psychologically healthy individuals achieve personal goals such as increased happiness, improved work-life balance, etc.

Therapy is based on the medical model that says people have psychiatric maladies that need to be repaired.  Coaching is an educational, discovery based process of human potential.

Coaching focuses on the present and future.  Therapy focuses on dealing with the past.

Coaching is driven by goals and taking action.  Therapy is driven by unresolved issues and feelings.

Coaching works toward a higher level of functioning.  Therapy works to achieve understanding and emotional healing.

Coaching asks, “Where would you like to be?”  and gives you strategies to get there.  Therapy asks, “How did that make you feel?”

Coaching assumes a co-equal partnership between coach and client.  Therapy assumes the therapist to be the expert, and in control.

Coaching has strategies and objectives.  Therapy has a treatment plan.

Coaching asks, “What’s next?”  Therapy asks, “Why?”

Coaching helps clients design their lives.  Therapy resolves issues.

Coaching essentially assumes the client is OK and is full of potential.  Whereas Therapy assumes the client is “sick” or “dysfunctional” and seeks to heal them so they can function “normally”.

Again, above is my short answer.  I encourage you to do more reading and thinking about these differences so you can make an informed decision about the best professional who can help you reach your goals in life.