What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?

The most common question of all time in the history of coaching, probably. One of my favorite explanations comes from The Business and Practice of Coaching ( Grodzki and Allen)

“Thomas Leonard, one of the early founders of the coaching movement, defined coaching as threefold: to help people (a) set and reach better goals, (b) do more than they would have done on their own, and (c) improve focus so as to produce results more quickly (Leonard & Byron, 1998).

He characterized coaching as a collaborative relationship that allows clients to become self-generative and productive, and leverage their talents.

In process, coaches see themselves as partners, ready to work in tandem with a client to solve an interesting challenge. The issues that coach and client address are rarely life-and-death, so the coach uses a less diagnostic, analytical approach.

To sum up, although the purpose may be similar for therapy and coaching in some cases, the process differs: In therapy, emphasis may be placed on helping a client resolve past issues and grieve loss in order to be more functional in the present. In coaching, emphasis is placed solely on a person’s present state of mind and future potential.”

I can’t help you process a trauma from your teenage years that still holds emotional power over you, that’s what your therapist is trained to do. But I can work with you to fine-tune the tools you’ve learned during the therapeutic process and find ways to put them into action so that you are taking control back from your trauma-based reactions.

I’ve stated this in other places on my site, I repeat it often:

How do you compensate for executive dysfunction so that you can pursue your goals? Let’s talk, I bet you have some ideas. How do you know what to do next when the grief stops being so overwhelming? I would love to hear where you’re thinking you’d like to go. Has your therapist released you into the great wide world to live and breathe with the tools you’ve learned in your time together, and you’re just not sure what to do next? Let’s see if you’re already on a path you didn’t even know to look for.

I can’t give you the answers, because you already have them. But I’d love to help you uncover them, because I have some experience in what that feels like, in how hard the journey can be, and how good it feels when you get there.