When coaching branched out from the business industry to sweep the world, it became the hottest trend to hit the self-improvement arena. As it continues to prove its viability not only as a career option but more so as a useful tool for sustainable success in life and business, coaching looks like it's here to stay.
Along with racked up coaching successes, however, is the ongoing great debate pitting coaching and therapy against each other.
Is coaching really a new profession or is it just another form of therapy in disguise? Are there really valid distinctions that set one profession from the other? If so, what are they?
The Common Ground Between Coaching and Therapy
To consider coaching as similar to therapy is understandable because of commonalities. For one, both professions aim to support and help individuals. Then there's the similarity in delivery typically through one-on-one sessions in person or over the phone. Another common ground is the end goals where both the coach and therapist help its clients get from Point A to Point B.
From a perspective that focuses on the similarities, it does look like that coaching and therapy is pretty much of the same tree. But beyond the common ground, there are vast differences to be aware of. These differences are what give each discipline a place of its own in the career scene. For the uninformed public, these are the very things you need to investigate further in order to truly understand why coaching is different from therapy.
The Main Distinctions
One of the main differences that set coaching apart from therapy is the type of client dealt with. Coaching deals with clients who are healthy but want a better life while therapy deals with those who currently suffer from psychological dysfunctions. Therapists help their clients by providing solutions for pain. Coaches, on one hand, get to work by assisting clients discover their full potential and achieve growth.
Unlike therapy where the past is often visited in order for healing to take place, coaching is focused on the present and the future. Instead of dwelling in the past, coaches mostly tackle the present in order to create a more promising future.
As defined, a therapist is a professional who is trained in psychological methods to help resolve psychological problems. This means that the therapist's job is to make proper diagnosis in order to provide appropriate solutions for healing. It also means that in therapy, the relationship is akin to that of a doctor-patient where the therapist has the answers.
Meanwhile, a coach is defined as a person who teaches and trains an athlete or performer. In the case of a life coach, the definition can be tweaked to someone who helps the client to discover answers and solutions about life and how to make it better. This is done through equal partnership where both the coach and the client identify problems then resolve it together transforming it into great successes.
In terms of growth, slow and painful is associated with therapy while coaching promises fast, rapid and an enjoyable one.
Only by closely looking at the differences between the two professions will one understand that coaching, indeed, is different from therapy.