When you know you need help in life, but you aren’t sure whether a life coach or a therapist would better serve you, it’s important to learn the differences and similarities between them.
The good news is, you’ve made the decision to seek out assistance. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out what help you’re looking for!
Differences Between Therapists and Life Coaches
Therapy focuses on mental health; life coaching focuses on goals
A therapist’s purpose is to help you heal from your past, while a life coach’s focus is about guiding you to create the “future you.” That being said, working together with a life coach may include helping you understand how your current situation has contributed to feeling stuck or lost, as well as reframing limiting beliefs that are no longer working for you.
Disclaimer: While life coaching is supportive, it is not therapy or any other type of mental health care. It is distinct from therapy, or counseling, because it is not designed to address psychological issues. Coaching is not intended to be a replacement for counseling, psychiatric interventions, or treatment for mental illness or substance abuse.
Therapy is rooted in the past and present; coaching focuses on the future and improving the “here and now”
Therapists search for signs of depression, anxiety, or emotional conflict and delve into the past. Counseling helps individuals heal from their past experiences or trauma.
Life coaches, on the other hand, focus on what energizes and pulls people forward. Life coaching is about taking big action and building self-confidence to get desired results.
In therapy, the therapist is the expert. However, in life coaching, the client and life coach are partners. A life coach is a guide. Coaching is based on the premise that YOU hold the answers and know what you want. It explores what you want to create for your life and sessions are structured to facilitate those goals.
Similarities Between Therapists and Life Coaches
A life coach and counselor are both empathetic listeners, but a life coach can be more friendly and direct, challenging you to get out of your comfort zone. This type of guidance is there to help you hit those personal goals you’re setting for yourself and help empower you to reach even higher.
Both focus on current behaviors and patterns. Life coaches often focus on your mindset to shift current behavior, while in therapy you will look at your past to understand your current behavior.
Both work to enable clients to make positive changes in their lives and to live a more enriched, fulfilling life. Professional life coaching and therapy sessions are often organized differently. Therapy can involve unstructured sessions that are guided by the client, while life coaching sessions can be structured to focus on actionable strategies and visible growth.
When To See a Life Coach
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Finding the true you in the face of all the influences of others can be a tough challenge. You may have an ideal version of yourself you’d like to make a reality, but you just aren’t sure if it’s possible or how to get there.
You don’t have to go through this alone! A life coach will help you find and tap into what brings you joy. It can be hard to make your own personal happiness a priority, as many of us were conditioned to put other people’s needs first, even at the expense of our own. It can feel selfish to consider your own needs, really at all. A life coach can help you release this guilt, change your mindset, and start living the meaningful life you deserve.
So, when should you get a life coach? Ask yourself these questions to see if it is the right time to get a life coach.
Are you feeling stuck in life? Feel like you are self-sabotaging your success? Want to change unhealthy habits into healthy ones? Want to take the next step in your career? Trying to figure out what your next chapter in life is? Want to live a life of purpose and meaning? Feel like something in your life is missing? Have a big goal but having a hard time getting motivated? Feel like you’re lacking personal accountability?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, then a life coach may be just what you need to find the fulfillment you’ve been searching for.
What Problems Do Life Coaches Solve?
Life coaches can help with many of the problems you’re facing today. You deserve to feel fulfilled in life, activate your gifts and talents, and fully tap into what truly makes you shine!
In order to feel fulfilled, we often need to first eliminate the feeling of being stuck. Whether it is stuck on a professional or personal level, or even both. Once we figure out what is holding you back, you can start to find your purpose and true meaning in life.
One of the biggest obstacles you may face as you take leaps forward is feelings of self-doubt or lack of confidence. You may have experienced “Imposter Syndrome”, where you doubt your abilities and feel like a fraud. This can often happen when you make big changes in your life or career.
Overcoming worry and fear is another hurdle in the path to success. Luckily, a life coach can help guide you past these obstacles to create mindset shifts that will develop your confidence and empower you in every area of your life.
Still Wondering About the Benefits of Life Coaching?
Eliminating the feeling of being stuck, finding your purpose, fostering self-belief and confidence, beating imposter syndrome, overcoming worry and fear, setting boundaries, and achieving your goals and dreams, are all ways that life coaching can benefit you by helping to empower you make the necessary changes in your life.
Living in a way that fully aligns with your values, and accomplishing goals that feel meaningful and rewarding, will truly help you to shine. You achieve this by setting goals that inspire you and bring you joy – all on the road to manifesting your dreams!
Ready to step into the future version of you? I offer free consultations to answer any questions you may have and help you decide if a life coach is the right fit for you!