I have found most people do not know the difference between a Life Coach and a Therapist. Both professions can actually complement each other when working with the same client and can be utilized simultaneously in lower levels of care.
It is extremely important for potential clients and other workers in the industry to understand the differences between a Life Coach and Therapist before you sign up or send referrals for services. The two professions are not the same and have fundamentally different approaches to bettering a client’s life.
1. Therapy focuses on past traumas and issues to help change self-destructive behaviors and to improve negative feelings from past relationships. It uses introspection and deep analysis with the unconscious or subconscious mind for deep understanding.
2. Life Coaches do not focus on the past, they focus on the present and future. Every client’s present situation is the foundation for clarifying future goals, identifying barriers to achieve those goals, and help correct self-sabotaging behaviors through proactive systematic steps and positive energy.
3. Therapy, counseling, psychotherapy work on identifying a diagnosis, determine illnesses, and pathologies so they can be clinically treated.
4. Life Coaches do not diagnose and they do not work with individuals who are not mentally stabilized and who are needing intensive services such as inpatient care.
5. Most therapists have licensing requirements, Life Coaches do not.
6. Therapist help identify and dig up painful feelings from the past while Life Coaches are focused on identifying and creating positive mentalities for the future.
7. Life coaches are more concerned about motivating and inspiring clients by focusing on solutions about how to accomplish future goals.
8. Therapist focus more on digging up the past to bring up unresolved issues affecting present behavior to understand why the behavior exists.
9. Life Coaches help clarify present and future personal goals by making business plans, strengthening skill sets, teaching people how to balance life, educate people to become competitive in the workforce, and more productive in life through building confidence.
10. Therapist help clients identify past trauma issues so recovery can take place from toxic relationships, depression impacting living, or to cope with present emotional pain.
Both professions can be viewed as similar to both having short and long-term relationships and both aim at making positive changes in their client's life. Think of Therapy as focusing on the past and Life Coaching as focusing on the future.
All in all, the biggest difference is a Life Coach is aimed at motivating and inspiring you to reach your full potential with business strategies and effective systems to build a better life. Life Coaches create action steps to achieve certain results. Therapy is more about mental processes.
A Life Coach is going to have a more positive demeanor because they are focusing on reaching passionate goals and inspiring people. Life Coaches are in the business to be optimistic and positive. A Therapist typically is involved in negative environments because of the work they specialize in and the cases they work with are sometimes not mentally stabilized or they are a harm to themselves and others. Even though this list is not every single difference in the most descriptive way possible, I hope these summaries helped clear the mud for you.
Till Next Time,