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?
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.
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:
- 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
- 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.
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