The Difference Between Coaching And Therapy

What Is The Difference Between Coaching And Therapy?

You’re looking to change your life and are ready to find a life coach or someone to help you. While both coaching and therapy can help you overcome challenges and improve your life, they serve distinct purposes and use different methodologies. Understanding the difference between coaching and therapy can help you choose the best path. Here are some of the key differences between coaching and therapy.

Life Coaching:

Coaching Focuses On The Present And Future:

Coaching primarily concentrates on the present and future. Coaches can help you identify your goals, develop actionable plans, and work with you to overcome internal and external obstacles. Whether in the realm of career, relationships, or personal development, coaching is about making specific progress toward your goals and dreams.

Clarity Of Vision:

I work with my coaching clients to get clear on their goals. This clarity isn’t just what you want to accomplish but who you need to become, your “future self,” as Dr. Benjamin Hardy calls it. This “future self” reveals the roadmap to stretch goals and orientates you toward your desired future. You inhabit and become who you want to be versus who you’ve been. This is why I encourage my clients to dream big and set goals that make them slightly uncomfortable but excited.

Motivation And Inspiration:

Motivation is critical to follow through, especially if the goals are big. I work with my clients to unleash the power of intrinsic (and extrinsic) motivation so they don’t rely on sheer willpower and force. Proper motivation fuels action and makes “hard work” seem effortless. It also conserves willpower to be there if you need it.

"Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal, it's difficult to score."

Coaching Is Solution-Oriented:

Clients come to coaching because they are interested in solutions and outcomes. While using various techniques, such as goal setting, accountability, and skill-building, a life or performance coach’s job is to help you set and reach your goals. They can also help you uncover and solve faulty beliefs, habits, or self-sabotaging behaviors that keep you stuck.

Planning And Strategy:

One of the biggest reasons most people fail to reach their goals is that they don’t understand proper goal-setting processes and planning. Goal planning involves breaking down your long-term goals into smaller, manageable steps, but it also includes determining the best next step in the face of unknowns. I work with my coaching clients to develop strategic planning skills that include identifying the most effective actions to take.


Decision fatigue, also known as analysis paralysis, is a common challenge. I work to help my clients assess and narrow potential options. We hone in on the essential decisions while outsourcing or eliminating less important areas.

Conscious decision-making is also fundamental to accomplishing your goals. I work with my clients to uncover the connection between their actions and the unspoken and undefined goals that drive them. Unearthing your implicit goals brings power to your decision-making abilities and your goals.

Challenges and setbacks are inevitable when pursuing goals. Sometimes, these setbacks are external, and other times, they are internal. Internal setbacks include self-sabotaging behaviors and beliefs, bad habits, and conflicting internal identities. I work with my coaching clients to resolve and transform these internal challenges so they can move into the driver’s seat of their lives.

"To decide your mission, simply look over all of your goals and then ask yourself: Which one of these goals would enable me to become the person I need to be to achieve everything else I want in my life. The answer to that question is your mission."

A Life Coach Is Your Accountability Partner:

Coaching serves as an accountability partner and sounding board. A good coach will hold you accountable to your process while working with you to adjust your plan.

Measuring Progress:

One of the key areas in which I work with my coaching clients is identifying the best metrics to track. Like information overload in goal setting, measuring progress must be about monitoring a focused set of the most impactful metrics. Good tracking focuses on actions and outcomes.


As an outside observer who has helped many high-performance individuals and entrepreneurs, I understand what it takes. I help keep my clients on track and on course to their goals.

"Surround yourself with a trusted and loyal team. It makes all the difference."

Coaching Is Not Medical Treatment:

Coaching is not medical treatment. Coaches do not diagnose or treat mental health disorders. Instead, they work with individuals who are generally mentally healthy but seek support in achieving specific goals or navigating transitions.


Therapy Emphasizes The Past And Present:

Therapy explores the past and its impact on the present. Therapy can help you understand and address unresolved issues, trauma, and emotional struggles.

Clinically Trained:

Therapists are clinically trained professionals, such as psychologists, counselors, or psychiatrists, who can diagnose and treat mental health conditions. Treatment is usually open-ended and ongoing.

Problem Diagnosis:

Therapy often focuses on diagnosing and treating specific mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Therapists work with clients to manage symptoms, develop coping strategies, and achieve emotional healing.