In my practice I have received this question quite often: what is the difference between therapy and coaching.
Therapy sounds like someone is bad mentally and needs extreme treatment and pills and it is almost crazy. Not quite true. That is something psychiatrist are dealing with.
Therapy helps you heal past emotions and people need psychology training to perform it, training that goes over many years (I have six). Therapy helps with understanding past experiences and with healing them.
Coaching helps you achieve goals, and it’s mostly based on the personal experience of the coach. Like “If I could do it, then you can do it too. Let me show you how I did it, and you can see if you can do it as well”.
It is a term coming from sports where we find team coaches who are leading the team to success. Most coaches from sports have been themselves players in a particular sport, and after retiring or wounding themselves and not being able to play anymore, decide to work as coach for the same sport they have practiced and use the experience from the field.
In time it was discovered that people could use this kind of coaches in their daily life as well, to help them deal with different areas of their lives: body issues, food, career, parenting, performance in music, and other varies arts, business, and I am sure that today, we can find coaches for everything. Not a bad thing. Usually, if we want to go to a higher level in any field, we need help, and there is no shame in asking for it, only strength.
Part of people who choose to work as coach, may also get training with an even more experienced coach, so they learn tools (mostly use of language). There is also extensive readings one can do by self-study about how to help yourself overcome some issues, known as “self-help” books. Usually, after you manage to help yourself, helping others with their struggles, comes naturally.
Some coaches have taken so many programs that they have become really good at what they do. The fact that they went on many programs says about them that they have acquired great personal experience from learning themselves and from achieving their own goals.
In my practice as a psychotherapist, I find many times that I use both methods in one session. Depends very much on the necessity of the people I work with. Some people are ready to look at their history and heal some wounds, and then they can move further to working on achieving their goals.
Healing wounds from the past can be easy or hard, depends on each person’s personal experience and history. It is a bit like modeling clay. Sometimes you may need to bring to dust whatever you thought was true for you, to add water (new information, perspectives, feelings), and reshape it into a conscious story that can help you move forward. Not always easy, yet very rewarding for those who dare to do the work, especially to do the work together with someone trained (that can help to add the water). One can achieve a lot working alone, yet, if one wants to move past own limits, assistance is required. It is easier to share the load of the work and talk it through together with someone that knows how to sustain and give space to this kind of inner process.
Many people cannot touch their past because it is too painful and prefer the coaching instead. In time, past stories come forward and a measure of healing is done as well, through the coaching process.
My experience both personal and from my practice is that 90 % of people need to heal some emotional blockage first before they can go further in their lives and achieving goals. Here is where I would like to ask those who are working as a coach, and who feel that they are stumbling in the “healing” part of their client’s process, to make a conscious decision and send them to a therapist. As I said, asking for help is a strength.
Each person needs to understand themselves in own time. They become ready to work both on the past and on the future somehow in layers, step by step, all in good time. Each experience in their life ads a measure of understanding both on their own past and on the way they may need to take to have the future they want. The process takes as long as it takes.
When choosing to work with a coach or a therapist, check how much experience they have from learning themselves, and how much experience they have with clients in the field they work in.
In case this article had awakened thoughts that may need to be sorted out, please leave a comment, or let me know in confidence and feel free to register for a free session here. A lot can be sorted out in ONE good conversation.
I wish you build resilience!