What’s the Difference Between Coaching and Therapy?

Since life coaching is a relatively new profession, it’s easy to confuse coaching with therapy.  I’d like to address some of the differences here and hopefully clarify this for you.


The easy definition of the difference between a therapist and a life coach  is that therapists help you work through your past, the things from your past that are keeping you from being the best you can be in your future … and a life coach focuses on your future:  Getting from where you are now, to where you want to be.  A therapist also will help you with emotional problems or mental health issues.

In a coaching relationship, we aren’t dealing with how you got where you are or whose fault it is, how people hurt you, etc.  Those are important things to deal with and a therapist is a great person to work with you on that.  When you work with a coach, you’re ready to get working on your future.  Moving forward is what coaching is all about.

It’s like being involved in a sport.  If you suffer an injury, whether it’s something you caused yourself or someone else caused, your coach is going to send you to a doctor or physical therapist.  The coach isn’t going to deal very much with whose fault it is, or what you need to do to heal from it.  Your coach is certainly not going to perform surgery on you!  His concern is for you to be the best you can be on the playing field.  That’s very much like what a life coach does for you.

In some ways, it may be easier to  understand the difference between coaching and therapy by telling you what a coach does.

The bottom line for a coaching/client relationship is to enhance YOUR quality of life and to make YOU more effective.  What I do is provide you with guidance from a completely unbiased vantage point.  This is why a coach can’t coach him or herself — we can’t get outside ourselves.  It’s also why it’s possible for us to coach you in things we’ve never experienced personally.

My job is to find out what your goals are — this may be overcoming something that’s blocking you from success, or it may be a skill you want to learn or a habit you want to start; it can be helping you get better at something you already do; it can be figuring out the best approach for accomplishing something you really want to accomplish, such as your legacy … there are millions of things you may be working on with a coach.  These are all things that are important to both discovering your fingerprint and leaving it indelibly on the world — something I consider to be of utmost importance.

Working with a coach can be like taking a class — but you’re the only student!  Your class is custom-designed for you and your teacher is giving you their full attention, tweaking even the custom-designed course to fit you absolutely perfectly.

If you’re a Christian, part of my job as your coach is to help you bring your life into alignment with the Holy Spirit.  Something that’s important to me, personally, is that I pray for my clients.  I would not be able to give you the insights I can offer, if I didn’t have the help of the Holy Spirit — both in giving me those insights and in preparing you to be receptive to them.   My personal philosophy of coaching means that I want to help you become fully aligned with God’s will for your life — He’s the one who gave you that incredible, individual fingerprint, and He has a specific plan for where He wants you to place it.  So I need to rely very strongly on the Holy Spirit when we’re having our sessions together.

A coach will require some serious work from you — after all, that’s what it takes to meet your goals!  At the same time, we’ll have fun, you’ll learn more about yourself and you’ll develop your character, skills, and gifts to a level you may not have thought possible.

If you’d like to try this out and see what coaching can do for you, sign up for a free coaching session … I dare you: Take my 90-day Change Your Life challenge.

Until we talk,



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