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3 Important Differences Between a Coach and a Therapist

I get asked by lots of people what the difference is between a therapist and a coach.

Well, having practised as both, I guess I'm pretty qualified to discuss this, so here's the 3 biggest differences I see:

1) Coaches are focussed on the clients future, therapists are focussed on their past - A coaches job is to get the client whatever they want in their life. Whether it's a better job, a loving partner, a fitter body, whatever. All the focus is on what actions the client needs to take IN THE FUTURE to get them closer to this goal. Coaches will delve only briefly into your past if they feel that there is a trapped emotion or limiting belief holding you back from making progress. However, a coach won't allow you to linger in the past. The idea is that you can overcome past traumas by taking action which will then give you evidence that your life can be different. A common mantra that coaches use is "you can't do anything about the past because it's already happened, but you have the power to shape (not change, because this implies pre-destination) your future outcome".

2) Coaches (at least good ones) charge based on getting you a result. Therapists will generally charge per hour - This has always been a bugbear for me. Where exactly is the incentive for the therapist to resolve the clients issues if you can just keep them coming back for more therapy and extract more money out of them? Gah! *tears hair out*

Coaches charge either on a monthly basis, or a client buys a program from the coach that they work through together, sharing the responsibility to get the client closer to their goal. Because of this "mutual responsibility", you'll find that coaches can be very picky about who they decide to work with, because if they don't think they are a good fit for the potential client, or they think the client isn't serious enough about achieving their goals, chances are they'll fail, which isn't good for anyone.

3) Coaches and therapists clientelle are different - A coaches primary objective is helping their client achieve their goals. A therapists primary objective is to address and resolve problems and mental issues in their client. Because the nature of coaching is future focussed and goal driven, and basically designed to help clients operate at a higher level, generally clients are, for the most part, higher-functioning socially, and don't present with mental health disorders, like they do for therapists.

Hope this helps!



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