A coach or therapist? What is the difference?
A coach or therapist? What is the difference?

When you want to change or tackle something in your life, it can be helpful to talk to a professional, like a therapist or coach. But what is the difference between a therapist and a coach? When do you go to a therapist and when do you need a coach?

The similarities

Coaching and therapy both focus on someone’s personal development by having conversations. And there are more similarities:

  • Both create a safe, professional, supportive environment, without judgment,
  • In both cases someone listens to you and asks in-depth questions,
  • Both focus on resilience,
  • Therapists and coaches can help you with life questions,
  • In both cases there is attention for your core beliefs and help you to change perspective,
  • Both will try to help you find the answers yourself.

The differences

There are also differences between coaching and therapy. If you look very “black and white”, you can say that a therapist focuses on the “sick” person and a coach helps a “healthy” person. These are other differences between therapy and coaching:

Therapy 

  • Focus on the past
  • Focus on the problem
  • Gives advice and recommendations
  • You will be diagnosed 
  • Focus is to get from the minus to 0
  • Helps to provide insight into problems and offers help with solving 
  • Focus on the complaint 

Coaching

  • Focus on the present and the future
  • Focus on the solution
  • Does not give advice, but only direction
  • No diagnosis 
  • Focus is to get further into the plus
  • Helps in reaching personal development goals
  • Focus on power

Despite the above differences, there is a large overlap between coaching and therapy in practice. Many therapists work in a solution-oriented way. And coaches will not ignore problems when they appear. The differences between two random professionals are probably bigger than the differences between a therapist and a coach.

If you consider consulting a professional, the most important thing is to feel safe and secure with the person you are talking to.

Do you want advice from a professional or experience expert? Simply ask your question.

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Ayla Hoogenboom

Being a psychologist and a coach, Ayla is fascinated by what drives and motivates people. Her coaching is empowering. She is an enterprising out-of-the-box thinker. She gets energy from her family, running and doing yoga.

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