Differences between Coaching, Consulting and Conventional Therapy
- Consultants Show You How to Do Something
- Therapists Help Answer the “Why do I” Questions
- Coaches Focus on the present
The fact is that many of the differences between modern therapy and personal coaching aren’t as big as we might like them to appear. Both professionals can be working with fully functioning adults who are working through a difficult situation. Both disciplines focus on helping people make changes and accomplish goals that really matter to them.
Psychotherapy generally deals with people with emotional/behavioral problems and disruptive situations—and seeks to bring the client to normal function by focusing on dysfunction. The primary focus is on healing. Coaching, on the other hand, deals with functional people who want to move toward higher function—and achieve excellence while creating an extraordinary life. The primary focus is on evolving and manifestation of potential. Healing is often a side effect. Additionally, the expectations and focus the client brings to the professional relationship sets the context as coaching or as therapy.
Coaching is about moving you forward, from where you are in your life to where you want to be.
Therapy is for you to understand and come to terms with your past, and for support to contain and move out of a crisis situation.
Consulting is guidance from someone, usually in the same specialty, who can advise, encourage, and support you in your day to day work.
Thomas Leonard, founder of Coach University, has made the following distinctions between Coaching and traditional therapy:
Coaching is about achievement; therapy is about healing.
Coaching is about action; therapy is about understanding.
Coaching is about transformation; therapy is about change.
Coaching is about momentum; therapy is about safety.
Coaching is about intuition; therapy is about feelings.
Coaching is about performance; therapy is about progress.
Differences between Life Coaching and Conventional Therapy
Cognitive behavior problems
Driven by unresolved issues
Usually a measured pace
No personal disclosure
Collaborative, equal partnership
Generally open, not vulnerable
Wants a partner
Chooses goals and actions
Acts on information
Often a rapid pace
Personal disclosure as useful