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What Is The Difference Between A Life Coach And A Therapist?


I get asked all the time about the difference between coaching and therapy. In order to create a clear distinction between the two, I'll try to explain here.

In short, Therapy heals the past and old wounds, while life coaching focuses on where you are now and helps you move forward towards creating the future that you want.

To get a bit deeper, a therapist counsels their clients to deal with deep personal, heal old wounds and analyze their past issues.  Although therapy also can be experienced in the present moment, it often focuses on the family of origin. A therapist is a graduate of college or university with a degree within the mental health field. A therapist brings a clinical perspective to their work.

A life coach is a guide or mentor. They partner with you to manifest a future vision by providing accountability, practical tools and mental technology that helps you pull out the stops and remain disciplined until those dreams come into fruition. It can be focused on helping people in their career, relationship, health, physical wellness, or even spirituality. A life coach is usually someone who went through a focused certification program and/or has overcome personal difficulties and challenges in their own lives and thus possess real world knowledge on what works.

Leslie Lupinsky, a master certified coach, said it best, “So much therapy is about the past and present and all about focusing the client toward healing. Coaching, on the other hand, is about helping a client look forward so they can expand their options and take action.”

Marthe Hagen's analogy was one of the best explanations I have heard. She says, "A life coach is very much like a personal trainer where as a therapist will be more like your doctor."

I hope this blog helps to provide some insight and clarity for you.

Feedback welcome.