Difference between Coaching and Therapy

COACHING

THERAPY

Coaching works with people who are:

Therapy works with people:

  • Seeking focus, strategy and motivation
  • Eager to move to a higher level of functioning
  • Asking “how to”
  • Designing their future, learning new skills and seeking more balance in their lives
  • Psychologically dysfunctional in a some way
  • Seeking self-understanding
  • Asking “why”
  • Dealing with old issues, emotional pain or traumas, seeking resolution and healing

Approach with Coaching:

Approach with Therapy:

  • Begins with premise the client is whole
  • Refers individuals with prolonged depression, severe anxiety, phobias, harmful addictions and destructive or abusive behaviour patterns to mental health professionals
  • Primary focus on actions and the future
  • Oriented toward solving problems through action
  • Works mainly with the conscious mind
  • Assists the clients in identifying, prioritizing and implementing choices
  • Helps client learn new skills and tools for personal growth and mastery
  • Helps client get clear on his or her own values and align actions to them
  • Encourages and requests proactive behaviour
  • Begins with the premise that client needs healing
  • Treats individuals with prolonged depression, severe anxiety, phobias, harmful and destructive or abusive behaviour patterns
  • Primary focus on feelings and history
  • Works to bring unconscious into conscious
  • Assists the client in untangling unconscious conflicts which interfere with choices
  • Helps client resolve old pain and terminate old coping mechanisms.

Process of Coaching:

Process of Therapy:

  • Focused on recognizing and developing potential
  • Main tools include accountability, inquiry, goal-setting and strategy
  • Deals mainly with external issues, looks for external solutions to internal blocks
  • Focused on healing and restoring functioning
  • Main tools include listening, reflecting, confrontation and interpretation
  • Deals mainly with internal issues; looks for internal resolution
Source: Hayden and Whitworth’s Distinction between Coaching and Therapy
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