Comparing Coaching and Therapy
Exploring this chart comparing coaching and therapy will help you understand the differences.
A session with a therapist, coffee with a friend, an appointment with a coach, or simply petting the dog can all be therapeutic – they provide help and support. Listed below are the classical and historical ways to differentiate between therapy and coaching. Good coaching and good therapy can overlap quite often.
|Power||The client is in charge. Coach works for the client and the client determines the agenda||Therapist is in charge. The mental health professional diagnoses and sets the agenda|
|Function||Develops strengths||Fixes what is “broken”|
|Focus||Focuses on actions and the future||Focuses on feelings and the past|
|Purpose||Focuses on actions and the future||Heals dysfunction and pathology. Improves the “being.”|
|Depth of Work||Behaviors and skills||Core beliefs|
|Process||Focuses on solving problems||Explores the root of problems|
|Assumption||The client is whole||The client needs healing|
|Path to Success||Works with the conscious mind||Works to bring the unconscious into consciousness|
|Method||Works for external solutions to overcome barriers, learn new skills and implement them||Works for internal resolution of pain and to let go of old patterns|
|Questions and Questioner||A coach asks the questions “Who are you? Where do you want to go? and What do you want your future to look like?”||Therapists deal primarily with answering the question “Why do I . . .?”|
Sources: Hayden and Whitworth (1995), the Relationship Coaching Institute, Sharon House