Life coaches are the professionals who are there to help you clarify and achieve your professional or personal goals. In life coaching, the client who hires a life coach, does so that they can get help in understanding their goals and the obstacles that stop them from achieving them. They employ a life coach, who is not a health professional, to help create action plans that will help them clear the obstacles in their life and achieve their objectives as soon as possible.
In life coaching, the process to implement those action plans start with taking the client’s current time starting point as the neutral ground. This process helps the client to take control of their life and take actions to actively move forward towards their goals.
While there are many approaches to life coaching, most of them focus on empowerment of self, strategies and motivation to define and reach the client’s dreams and goals.
Therapy, also known as psychotherapy or counseling is a long-term process where the client works with a professional from the healthcare industry to diagnose and resolve emotional issues, behaviours and feelings. Therapy is a well-known process for it’s problem-solving methods and reputation as a tool to help overcome mental issues such as anxiety, addiction, depression, and so many more.
It is also viable that one doesn’t need to go through a huge life crisis or trauma to benefit from therapy. Talking with a therapist allows the client to get a sense of how one appears to other people and that helps in getting feedback on how one is acting, the emotions behind those behaviours and how that is affecting everyday life.
The Difference Between Life Coach And A Therapist
Life Coaches aim to help achieve goals while Therapists aim to improve the mental health
The major difference between Life Coach and a Therapists is that life coach focuses on the setting of and achieving goals while therapists focus on the mental health of the client and his/her emotional healing.
One should consider therapy if they want to find problems and heal their mental health and should consider life coaching if help is needed to achieve their full potential and reach their goals.
Life Coaching focuses on the now and future while Therapy focuses on the past
Generally, life coaching is more focused on where you stand currently in terms of your goals and how you will move forward in future to achieve those goals. Life coaches try to understand your current behaviour and thinking process and for that they sometimes might be interested in your past and what you went through or experienced but that is not their main objective, they are not interested in going back to address your past problems and try to understand or solve it, they just reference it. The main objective of a life coach is where the client is now and where the client wants to be in the future.
While in general, therapy sessions are more focused on returning to the past to the emotional experiences that the client might have faced, the pattern of occurence, the trauma caused and how that is affecting the current behaviour. The objective is to connect the dots to understand what brought the client to the current predicament, i.e. the current issues in the client’s life. The goal is to pinpoint the problems causing the issues and start a process of healing so that the client can achieve peace and happiness. Therapy, at its core, is all about working on the psychological problems caused from past experiences, if any and doing the healing to move forward from them.
Thus, the biggest difference between life coach and a therapist is that the life coach will identify the current problematic behaviours that are a hindrance to the client’s future goals so the client can work to modify them whereas therapists will analyze the client’s past as a tool to understand their present behaviours and help the client heal from the past traumas so that they can heal and achieve peace and happiness in their current life.
Life Coaching works with conscious mind while Therapy works with the unconscious mind
When you look at the difference between life coach and a therapist’s practice, it is important to notice that a life coach focuses on their client’s conscious actions and their results. They focus on the conscious mind to measure the client’s success with their specific behaviors and their outcomes and goals.
On the other hand, the therapists help their clients to understand and explore their subconscious/unconscious mind and their actions occurring from it. Their goal is the exploration of bad behaviours, or the emotional scars that exist deep in the unconscious mind of the client so they can find out how it is affecting their current life and how to heal them.
In other words, coaches work on ‘how’ to consciously work towards a goal while therapists focus on ‘why’ certain unconscious behavioral patterns occur.
Life Coaching is a short-term Process and Therapy is a Long-Term Process
Another difference between life coach and a therapist is in their time frame.
Life Coaching services are usually offered in packages from around 6-10 weeks or annually. Such services often vary on the time frame but most of them are short-term. The coach usually discusses with the clients about what goals they want to achieve and they calculate on around how long it will take for the client to achieve those goals and the coaching lasts for around that much of time frame, until the client is successful in achieving his/her goals. One can sign up for coaching and upon completion can decide if he/she wants to continue working with the coach and sign for additional packages or classes if needed.
Therapy, on the other hand, is not often time-limited. There is no fixed time frame because one cannot predict how many issues the client can be facing and how long the healing is going to take place. Therapy sessions can continue for months or even for years depending on how deep the trauma is, but usually they are on the longer side of the time frame.